1. The skin of a sheep or goat prepared as a material on which to write or paint.
2. A written text or drawing on a sheet of this material.
3. Paper made in imitation of this material.
[Middle English parchemin, parchement (influenced by Medieval Latin pergamentum), from Old French parchemin, from Late Latin pergamīna, variant of Latin pergamēna, from feminine of Pergamēnus, of Pergamum, from Greek Pergamēnos, after Pergamon (Pergamum).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.