plaster of Paris

or plaster of paris



calcined gypsum in white, powdery form, used as a base for gypsum plasters, as an additive of lime plasters, and as a material for making fine and ornamental casts: characterized by its ability to set rapidly when mixed with water.

Origin of plaster of Paris

1375–1425; late Middle English; so called because prepared from the gypsum of Paris, France Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for plaster of paris

Historical Examples of plaster of paris

  • “Now fetch that bag of plaster-of-Paris from the tool-house,” said the Colonel.

    Sappers and Miners

    George Manville Fenn

  • All about her were statues and plaster-of-paris reproductions of masterpieces.

    The Magic Curtain

    Roy J. Snell

  • Dr. Dion, a fine surgeon, set it, and placed my foot in plaster-of-paris.


    Josephine Culpeper

  • Hitched in front of it were eight tiny reindeer, made of plaster-of-paris, properly colored.

  • The concussion threw me to the floor, covering me with lime and plaster-of-paris from the walls and ceiling.

    S.O.S. Stand to!

    Reginald Grant

British Dictionary definitions for plaster of paris

plaster of Paris


a white powder that sets to a hard solid when mixed with water, used for making sculptures and casts, as an additive for lime plasters, and for making casts for setting broken limbs. It is usually the hemihydrate of calcium sulphate, 2CaSO 4 .H 2 O
the hard plaster produced when this powder is mixed with water: a fully hydrated form of calcium sulphate
Sometimes shortened to: plaster

Word Origin for plaster of Paris

C15: from Medieval Latin plastrum parisiense, originally made from the gypsum of Paris
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for plaster of paris

plaster of Paris


mid-15c.; originally it was made from the extensive gypsum deposits of Montmartre in Paris.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for plaster of paris

plaster of Paris



Any of a group of gypsum cements, essentially hemihydrated calcium sulfate, a white powder that forms a paste when mixed with water and hardens into a solid, used in making casts and molds.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for plaster of paris

plaster of Paris


A form of calcium phosphate derived from gypsum. It is mixed with water to make casts and molds.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.