parchment


parchment
parchmentlike, parchmenty, adj.
/pahrch"meuhnt/, n.
1. the skin of sheep, goats, etc., prepared for use as a material on which to write.
2. a manuscript or document on such material.
3. a stiff, off-white paper resembling this material.
4. a diploma.
[1275-1325; late ME < MF, OF (parche < L Parthica (pellis) Parthian (leather) + -MENT (cf. ML percamentum, D perkament)); r. ME parchemin < OF (-min < ML pergaminum, var. of PERGAMENUM, for LL Pergamena charta paper of PERGAMUM)]

* * *

Processed skins of certain animals (chiefly sheep, goats, and calves) that have been prepared for the purpose of writing on them.

Parchment was probably invented in Greece in the 2nd century BC. Skins had been used for writing material even earlier (с 2400 BC), but the new, more thorough method of cleaning, stretching, and scraping made possible the use of both sides of a manuscript leaf, leading to the replacement of the rolled manuscript by the bound book (codex). Especially fine parchment is known as vellum. In modern usage, the terms "parchment" and "vellum" are sometimes used for a type of high-quality paper.

* * *

▪ writing material
      the processed skins of certain animals—chiefly sheep, goats, and calves—that have been prepared for the purpose of writing on them. The name apparently derives from the ancient Greek city of Pergamum (modern Bergama, Turkey), where parchment is said to have been invented in the 2nd century BC. Skins had been used for writing material even earlier, but a new, more thorough method of cleaning, stretching, and scraping made possible the use of both sides of a manuscript leaf, leading to the supplanting of the rolled manuscript by the bound book (codex).

      Parchment made from the more delicate skins of calf or kid or from stillborn or newly born calf or lamb came to be called vellum, a term that was broadened in its usage to include any especially fine parchment. The vellum of most early manuscripts, through the 6th century AD, is of good quality. After this, as demand increased, a great amount of inferior material came on the market, but by the 12th century, when large numbers of manuscripts were being produced in western Europe, a soft, pliant vellum was in vogue. In Constantinople, a sumptuous form was produced at an early date by dyeing the material a rich purple and lettering it in silver and gold, a practice condemned as a useless luxury in a well-known passage of St. Jerome (Jerome, Saint). The purple dye was subsequently abandoned, but the practice of “illuminating” parchment manuscripts in gold, silver, and other tints flourished throughout the European Middle Ages.

      In modern usage, the terms parchment and vellum may be applied to a type of paper of high quality made chiefly from wood pulp and rags and frequently having a special finish.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Parchment — Parch ment (p[aum]rch ment), n. [OE. parchemin, perchemin, F. parchemin, LL. pergamenum, L. pergamena, pergamina, fr. L. Pergamenus of or belonging to Pergamus an ancient city of Mysia in Asia Minor, where parchment was first used.] 1. The skin… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • parchment — [pärch′mənt] n. [ME parchemin < OFr < LL pergamina < L (charta) Pergamena, (paper) of PERGAMUM, where used as a substitute for papyrus: altered in OFr by assoc. with parche, parchment < LL parthica ( pellis), lit., Parthian (leather)] …   English World dictionary

  • Parchment — Parchment, MI U.S. city in Michigan Population (2000): 1936 Housing Units (2000): 873 Land area (2000): 0.855291 sq. miles (2.215193 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.033619 sq. miles (0.087074 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.888910 sq. miles (2.302267… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Parchment, MI — U.S. city in Michigan Population (2000): 1936 Housing Units (2000): 873 Land area (2000): 0.855291 sq. miles (2.215193 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.033619 sq. miles (0.087074 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.888910 sq. miles (2.302267 sq. km) FIPS… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • parchment — ► NOUN 1) a stiff material made from the skin of a sheep or goat, formerly used for writing on. 2) (also parchment paper) stiff translucent paper treated to resemble parchment. 3) informal a diploma or other formal document. ORIGIN Old French… …   English terms dictionary

  • parchment — (n.) c.1300, from O.Fr. perchemin (O.N.Fr. parcamin), from L.L. pergamenum parchment, from Late Gk. pergamenon of Pergamon, from Pergamon Pergamum (modern Bergama), city in Mysia in Asia Minor where it was supposedly first adopted as a substitute …   Etymology dictionary

  • Parchment — For other uses, see Parchment (disambiguation). Central European (Northern) type of finished parchment made of goatskin stretched on a wooden frame Parchment is a thin material made from calfskin, sheepskin or goatskin, often split. Its most… …   Wikipedia

  • parchment — [[t]pɑ͟ː(r)tʃmənt[/t]] parchments 1) N UNCOUNT In former times, parchment was the skin of a sheep or goat that was used for writing on. ...old manuscripts written on parchment. 2) N UNCOUNT Parchment is a kind of thick yellowish paper. ...an old… …   English dictionary

  • Parchment — This rare and unusual name embodies a long and most interesting history. As a surname, it is a metonymic applied, quite literally, to a parchment maker or seller. The word parchment was derived, via the Middle English and Old French parchemin ,… …   Surnames reference

  • parchment — UK [ˈpɑː(r)tʃmənt] / US [ˈpɑrtʃmənt] noun Word forms parchment : singular parchment plural parchments 1) a) [uncountable] a substance made from animal skin, used in the past for writing on b) [countable] an old document written on parchment 2)… …   English dictionary


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.