- Palimpsest is defined as a parchment manuscript that has been modified or changed but that still has traces of its original writing.
A heavily-edited version of an old manuscript is an example of palimpsest.
Origin of palimpsestClassical Latin palimpsestus ; from Classical Greek palimpsēstos, literally , rubbed again ; from palin, again (see palindrome) + psēn, to rub smooth ; from Indo-European base an unverified form bhes-, to rub off, pulverize from source Classical Latin sabulum, sand
- A manuscript, typically of papyrus or parchment, that has been written on more than once, with the earlier writing incompletely scraped off or erased and often legible.
- An object or area that has extensive evidence of or layers showing activity or use: “My skin had become a palimpsest of fleeting sensations, and each layer bore the imprint of who I was” (Paul Auster).
Origin of palimpsestLatin palimpsēstum, from Greek palimpsēston, neuter of palimpsēstos, scraped again : palin, again; see kwel-1 in Indo-European roots + psēn, to scrape.
- A manuscript or document that has been erased or scraped clean, for reuse of the paper, parchment, vellum, or other medium on which it was written. Many historical texts have been recovered using ultraviolet light and other technologies to read the erased writing.
- (archaic) Monumental brasses that have been reused by engraving of the blank back side.
- (astronomy) Circular features believed to be lunar craters that have been obliterated by later volcanic activity.
- (geology) Geological features thought to be related to features or effects below the surface.
- (computing) Memory that has been erased and re-written.
- (cultural studies) The partial erasure of or superimposition on an older society or culture by a newer one.
- Something bearing the traces of an earlier, erased form.
(third-person singular simple present palimpsests, present participle palimpsesting, simple past and past participle palimpsested)
- past simple
- simple past, simple-past
From Latin palimpsēstus, from Ancient Greek παλίμψηστος (palímpsestos, “scraped again”).