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palimpsest

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noun pa·limp·sest \ˈpa-ləm(p)-ˌsest, pə-ˈlim(p)-\

Simple Definition of palimpsest

  • : a very old document on which the original writing has been erased and replaced with new writing

  • : something that has changed over time and shows evidence of that change

Full Definition of palimpsest

  1. 1 :  writing material (as a parchment or tablet) used one or more times after earlier writing has been erased

  2. 2 :  something having usually diverse layers or aspects apparent beneath the surface <Canada … is a palimpsest, an overlay of classes and generations — Margaret Atwood>

Examples of palimpsest

  1. The ancient city is an architectural palimpsest.



Origin of palimpsest

Latin palimpsestus, from Greek palimpsēstos scraped again, from palin + psēn to rub, scrape; akin to Sanskrit psāti, babhasti he chews


First Known Use: 1825

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