vel·​lum | \ˈve-ləm \

Definition of vellum 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a fine-grained unsplit lambskin, kidskin, or calfskin prepared especially for writing on or for binding books

2 : a strong cream-colored paper



Definition of vellum (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of, resembling, or bound in vellum

2 : slightly rough paper with a vellum finish

Examples of vellum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Known as the Lyghfield Bible after the 16th- century Canterbury Cathedral monk that once owned it, the 690-leaf volume is written on parchment or vellum, which is made from animal skin. James Rogers, Fox News, "Extremely rare medieval bible that 'bears witness' to Christian history re-discovered," 6 Aug. 2018 Only the Philosophical Society has a copy of Dunlap’s singular oversize Declaration, the sole version that Dunlap printed on parchment or vellum. Stephan Salisbury,, "Rare version of the Declaration of Independence on display at the Museum of the American Revolution just in time for July 4th," 26 June 2018 The document, which is handwritten on vellum, includes imagery referencing the United Kingdom, California, the United States, and Princess Diana's family. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Why Queen Elizabeth Called Kate Middleton 'Our Trusty and Well-Beloved,' But Not Meghan Markle," 12 May 2018 The palace released images of the vellum document, called the Instrument of Consent, on Friday, a little more than one week before the couple’s nuptials at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor. Bonnie Mccarthy,, "How will Meghan and Harry mash up California style and British (royal) tradition?," 17 May 2018 Then, for his gallery at 291 Fifth Ave. in New York, Stieglitz printed more of the images on vellum, this time larger than the initial images., "How Can One Artwork Have Four Very Different Price Tags?," 4 Apr. 2018 That's because the face is covered with nearly invisible fuzz called vellum hairs. Judy Dutton, Redbook, "20 Things You Can Do With Your Mouth That Will Drive a Man Crazy," 20 Jan. 2018 The oldest piece will be a vellum bull dating to 1153 and signed by four popes; the newest will be a 2006 thumbprint signature of the physicist Stephen Hawking. Jane L. Levere, New York Times, "A Childhood Hobby Matures Into a World-Class Collection," 10 Mar. 2018 The royal stopped by William Cowley Parchment Makers, which produces vellum for royals and Parliament. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Is How Prince William Responds to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Engagement Rumors," 26 Sep. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

These stoneware pieces, glazed with either vellum whites or bronzy browns, evoke bowls or vases in their symmetry and roundness, their open, hollow interiors, and their use of the age-old pinch-and-coil method. Roberta Smith, Will Heinrich, Martha Schwendener And Jason Farago, New York Times, "What to See in New York Art Galleries This Week," 20 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vellum.' 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 vellum


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for vellum


Middle English velym, borrowed from Anglo-French velim, veeslin, noun derivative of *veelin "of a calf," from veel "calf" + -in -ine entry 1 — more at veal entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near vellum





vellum paper



Statistics for vellum

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for vellum

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

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English Language Learners Definition of vellum

: a smooth material made from the skin of a young animal and used especially for covering books or for writing on

: a strong cream-colored paper

More from Merriam-Webster on vellum Encyclopedia article about vellum

Comments on vellum

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


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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