the skin of a sheep, especially such a skin dressed with the wool on, as for a garment.
leather, parchment, or the like, made from the skin of sheep.
Informal. a diploma.


made from the skin of a sheep.
(of a garment) lined with the skin of a sheep dressed with the wool on.

Origin of sheepskin

First recorded in 1150–1200, sheepskin is from the Middle English word shepskinn. See sheep, skin Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sheepskin

Contemporary Examples of sheepskin

Historical Examples of sheepskin

  • I didn't blame him for stopping up there on his sheepskin, eye to eye with the girl.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • The coachman had mounted to his box, and was wrapping a sheepskin about his knees.

  • The footman (who survived) had no time to see the face of the man in the sheepskin coat.

    Under Western Eyes

    Joseph Conrad

  • The sheepskin blankets with the wool on were almost as black as soot.

  • Each one took off his sheepskin jacket, reversed it and put it on again.

    Debts of Honor

    Maurus Jkai

British Dictionary definitions for sheepskin



  1. the skin of a sheep, esp when used for clothing, etc, or with the fleece removed and used for parchment
  2. (as modifier)a sheepskin coat
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 sheepskin

c.1200, "the skin of a sheep," from sheep + skin (n.). Meaning "diploma" dates from 1804; so called because formerly made of sheepskin parchment.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper