noun \ˈpa-ləm(p)-ˌsest, pə-ˈlim(p)-\

: 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

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


Latin palimpsestus, from Greek palimpsēstos scraped again, from palin + psēn to rub, scrape; akin to Sanskrit psāti, babhasti he chews
First Known Use: 1825

Other Paper Terms

folio, quire, ream


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