Par·​me·​san ˈpär-mə-ˌzän How to pronounce Parmesan (audio)
-ˌzan How to pronounce Parmesan (audio)
: a very hard dry sharply flavored cheese that is sold grated or in wedges
sprinkled grated Parmesan over the spaghetti

Examples of Parmesan in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Wings will also be available at Friendly's locations across the nation as well, in flavors including Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ, Buffalo, Garlic Parmesan, Honey Mustard and Friendly’s Signature Sauce. Nicholas Rice, Peoplemag, 10 Feb. 2024 The Zyliss Classic Rotary Cheese Grater gets our top vote for overall best rotary cheese grater because of its ability to grate Parmesan cheese as a server does in an Italian restaurant. Belle Duchene, Better Homes & Gardens, 8 Feb. 2024 Current wing flavors include buffalo, barbecue, mango habanero and garlic Parmesan. Brianna Taylor, Sacramento Bee, 7 Feb. 2024 With some charred lemon, Parmesan, and some good olive oil, your everyday Broccolini is transformed into something that is worthy of the Easter table. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 5 Feb. 2024 When the rice is al dente, add the last 2 tablespoons of butter, the Parmesan, mascarpone cheese and fresh parsley. Kate Bradshaw, The Mercury News, 31 Jan. 2024 Popularized on TikTok, the viral recipe combines beef, Italian sausage, tomato sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan, and, of course, pasta. Bryce Jones, Better Homes & Gardens, 24 Jan. 2024 Place bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, remaining 2 tablespoons lemon zest and garlic cloves in shallow dish such as a pie plate; blend well. Jill Wendholt Silva, Kansas City Star, 24 Jan. 2024 How to make Celeriac and Parmesan Gratin This recipe consists of two preparations: the celeriac puree and the gratin. Dan Lindbergand, Miami Herald, 24 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Parmesan.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


short for Parmesan cheese; Parmesan "of the city of Parma," borrowed from Middle French parmisan, probably borrowed from a western Upper Italian variant of Tuscan parmigiano, from Parma "Parma" + -igiano, adjective suffix of appurtenance, from Vulgar Latin *-ēs- (going back to Latin -ensis, adjective suffix of place) + Latin -iānus -ian entry 2

Note: The expected Tuscan (and standard Italian) outcome of -igiano would be -iciano; cf. standard Italian bacio "kiss" (from Latin bāsium), usually pronounced [ˈba šo], but Ligurian [ˈba žu], Trentino (northwest Italy) [ˈba žo] (see Gerhard Rohlfs, Grammatica storica della lingua italiana e dei suoi dialetti: Sintassi e formazione delle parole, Turin, 1969, p. 392). The form -igiano with a voiced consonant hence presumably reflects Upper Italian influence. For instances of the same suffix as borrowed into French see courtesan, partisan entry 1. The common American English pronunciation of Parmesan with \zh\ may show dialectal Italian influence.

First Known Use

1538, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Parmesan was in 1538

Dictionary Entries Near Parmesan

Cite this Entry

“Parmesan.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


Par·​me·​san ˈpär-mə-ˌzän How to pronounce Parmesan (audio) -ˌzhän How to pronounce Parmesan (audio)
: a very hard dry sharply flavored cheese that is sold grated or in wedges

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