pa·​py·​rus | \ pə-ˈpī-rəs How to pronounce papyrus (audio) \
plural papyri\ pə-​ˈpī-​(ˌ)rē How to pronounce papyrus (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 complex scent wears beautifully with a strong base of North African papyrus and musk. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 31 Mar. 2022 That effect comes courtesy of white birch, lush ivy, wild fig, rhubarb, violet leaves, papyrus, incense and black tea. Celia Shatzman, Forbes, 31 Jan. 2022 Obbink is said to have availed himself of that privilege sometime around 2012, when he is reported to have displayed in his rooms a papyrus fragment with handwritten text from the Gospel of Mark that he was later accused of selling to Hobby Lobby. New York Times, 24 Sep. 2021 Club-rush tubers, an aquatic plant of the family of papyrus (Cyperaceae), was frequently present in the archaeobotanical assemblage from Shubayqa 1. Tobias Richter, Scientific American, 16 Aug. 2021 These two segments were previously housed in private collections, and the whereabouts of several other sections of the papyrus remain unknown, according to the statement. Isis Davis-marks, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Mar. 2021 Our walls bore a mix of contemporary paintings and the papyrus my father would bring back from his travels. Mona Awad, Vogue, 15 June 2021 The researchers began their analysis by training an artificial neural network to digitally separate the ink of a text from a leather or papyrus background. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, 23 Apr. 2021 Meanwhile, birch woods and papyrus provide the base. Celia Shatzman, Forbes, 25 May 2021 See More

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.

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

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Time Traveler for papyrus

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

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Dictionary Entries Near papyrus



papyrus capital

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Last Updated

9 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Papyrus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for papyrus


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

More from Merriam-Webster on papyrus

Nglish: Translation of papyrus for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about papyrus


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