papyrus

noun
pa·​py·​rus | \ pə-ˈpī-rəs How to pronounce papyrus (audio) \
plural papyri\ pə-​ˈpī-​(ˌ)rē How to pronounce papyri (audio) , -​rī \ or papyruses

Definition of papyrus

1 : a tall perennial sedge (Cyperus papyrus) of the Nile valley
2 : the pith of the papyrus plant especially when made into strips and pressed into a material to write on
3a : a writing on papyrus
b : a written scroll made of papyrus He discovered a papyrus in the ruins.

Illustration of papyrus

Illustration of papyrus

papyrus 1

Examples of papyrus in a Sentence

an ancient text written on papyrus He discovered a papyrus in the ruins.

Recent Examples on the Web

This exhibition presents some of the most spectacular archeological finds from the site — including bronzes, marble statuary and objects from the library of papyrus scrolls that give the villa its name. Los Angeles Times, "Datebook: How Duke Ellington inspired an art show about black and Latino experience," 15 Aug. 2019 This exhibition presents some of the most spectacular archeological finds from the site — including bronzes, marble statuary and objects from the library of papyrus scrolls that give the villa its name. Los Angeles Times, "Datebook: A group show marks five years of exhibitions at Park View / Paul Soto," 1 Aug. 2019 This exhibition presents some of the most spectacular archeological finds from the site — including bronzes, marble statuary and objects from the library of papyrus scrolls that give the villa its name. Los Angeles Times, "Datebook: Paintings that serve as reflections of indigenous life in Australia," 26 July 2019 This exhibition presents some of the most spectacular archeological finds from the site — including bronzes, marble statuary and objects from the library of papyrus scrolls that give the villa its name. Carolina A. Miranda, latimes.com, "Datebook: At the Getty, one of Gordon Parks’ most controversial photographic series," 11 July 2019 Brooklyn felt transformed with Caroline Cuse’s stunning floral centerpieces of birds of paradise, torch lilies, papyrus, and lemons. Zachary Schwartz, Vogue, "Prabal Gurung Celebrated New York Pride With a Gorgeous Garden Party in Brooklyn," 27 June 2019 Written in ancient Greek, the papyrus has been in the possession of the University of Basel in Switzerland since the 16th century. James Rogers, Fox News, "Ancient papyrus mystery solved," 16 July 2018 Scientists reveal secrets of a mysterious 2,000-year-old papyrus. Fox News, "FOX NEWS FIRST: Trump fires back at Helsinki summit critics; Putin calls Russian meddling charges 'ridiculous'," 17 July 2018 The University of Basel has dozens of ancient papyrus texts in its collection, but one has been known for centuries as the Basel Papyrus. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "After 500 years, a UV lamp solves the mystery of the Basel Papyrus," 19 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'papyrus.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of papyrus

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for papyrus

Middle English, from Latin — more at paper

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about papyrus

Statistics for papyrus

Last Updated

27 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for papyrus

The first known use of papyrus was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for papyrus

papyrus

noun

English Language Learners Definition of papyrus

: a tall plant that is like grass and that grows in marshes especially in Egypt
: paper made from papyrus that was used in ancient times
: a piece of paper made from papyrus that has writing on it

papyrus

noun
pa·​py·​rus | \ pə-ˈpī-rəs How to pronounce papyrus (audio) \
plural papyruses or papyri\ -​rē , -​ˌrī \

Kids Definition of papyrus

1 : a tall African plant related to the grasses that grows especially in Egypt
2 : a material like paper used by ancient people to write on

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on papyrus

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with papyrus

Spanish Central: Translation of papyrus

Nglish: Translation of papyrus for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about papyrus

Comments on papyrus

What made you want to look up papyrus? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

authorized for issue (as a bond)

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!