pa·py·rus | \pə-ˈpī-rəs \
plural papyri\pə-ˈpī-(ˌ)rē, -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

Historically, biblical writings, Egyptian papyruses and the medical texts of the classical Greeks show that infertility was a common condition and that women were primarily blamed. Brennan Peterson,, "5 myths about infertility," 26 June 2018 The delicate fragments of parchment and papyrus were preserved for 2,000 years thanks to the dark, dry conditions in the caves. James Rogers, Fox News, "Dead Sea Scrolls discovery: Tech reveals hidden script," 2 May 2018 And while azaleas and dwarf papyrus fill a shady side garden, crossvine drapes a gazebo with a veil of blooms. Emily Young,, "Looking for drought-garden inspiration? This L.A.-area tour is for you," 27 Apr. 2018 Among the vitrines, the scholar’s eye fell upon a ragged bit of a sixth-century papyrus fragment containing lines from Galatians 2 in Coptic. Nina Burleigh, Newsweek, "The Messiah Cometh: Hobby Lobby's Museum of the Bible Descends on the Nation's Capital," 7 Apr. 2016 Consumption of lotus blossoms and water lilies is noted in ancient Egyptian papyrus scrolls. Paul Stephen, San Antonio Express-News, "Flower power: Edible blooms add a new dimension to dishes," 14 Mar. 2018 On a balcony planted with papyrus, wisteria, and ferns, a small breakfast area is furnished with a vintage iron table and chairs. Cynthia Frank, ELLE Decor, "House Tour: A Once-Crumbling Milan Apartment Now Revels In Maximalist Decor," 13 Mar. 2018 The scholar, an expert in papyrus, recognized it as one that had been on sale on eBay from an anonymous Turkish seller several years before. Nina Burleigh, Newsweek, "The Messiah Cometh: Hobby Lobby's Museum of the Bible Descends on the Nation's Capital," 7 Apr. 2016 The museum also features a collection of writing, books and paper from the early and middle ages, such as papyrus fragments from 300-350 BCE. Rebecca Hazen, Houston Chronicle, "Printing Museum reopens with new mission after hiatus," 21 Feb. 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.

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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

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

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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


pa·py·rus | \pə-ˈpī-rəs \
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

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