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

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 Archaeologists working in Egypt in the late 19th century began collecting scraps of papyrus containing lines, quotations and even complete chapters of the stories. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Oldest Greek Fragment of Homer Discovered on Clay Tablet," 11 July 2018 Scientists have finally unlocked the secrets of a mysterious 2,000-year-old papyrus document. James Rogers, Fox News, "Ancient papyrus mystery solved," 16 July 2018 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

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 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

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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 Encyclopedia article about papyrus

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