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parchment

parchment, untanned skins of animals, especially of the sheep, calf, and goat, prepared for use as a writing material. The name is a corruption of Pergamum, the ancient city of Asia Minor where preparation of parchment suitable for use on both sides was achieved in the 2d cent. BC Parchment, which is more durable than papyrus and susceptible of being folded into book form, very gradually superseded papyrus. In Europe it gave way to paper for use in books only after the advent of printing. The skins were soaked in water, treated with lime to loosen the hair, scraped, washed, stretched, and dried, and then rubbed with chalk and pumice stone. A fine grade prepared from the skin of the calf or kid became known as vellum, a name applied during the Middle Ages to any parchment used in manuscripts. For important manuscripts vellum was often dyed purple. Parchment is still used for certain documents and diplomas, for bookbindings and lampshades, and for the heads of drums, tambourines, and banjos. Vegetable parchment is paper treated to make it tough, translucent, and impervious to water.

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parchment

parch·ment / ˈpärchmənt/ • n. a stiff, flat, thin material made from the prepared skin of an animal and used as a durable writing surface in ancient and medieval times. ∎  a manuscript written on this material: a large collection of ancient parchments. ∎  (also parchment paper) a type of stiff translucent paper treated to resemble parchment and used for lampshades, as a writing surface, and in baking. ∎ inf. a diploma or other formal document.

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parchment

parchment a stiff, flat, thin material of a yellowish colour made from the prepared skin of an animal, usually a sheep or goat, and used as a durable writing surface in ancient and medieval times. Recorded from Middle English, the word comes via Old French from a blend of late Latin pergamina ‘writing material from Pergamum’ and Parthica pellis ‘Parthian skin’ (a kind of scarlet leather).

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parchment

parchment XIII. ME. parchemin — (O)F.:- Rom. *particamīnum, which resulted from a blending of L. pergamīna ‘writing-material prepared from skins invented at Pergamum in Asia Minor’ with Parthica pellis ‘Parthian skin’. Assimilation of the ending of the Eng. word to the suffix -MENT appears XV.

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