late 14c., papirus, from Latin papyrus "the paper plant," also the paper made from it, from Greek papyros "any plant of the paper plant genus," a loan-word of unknown origin, often said to be Egyptian. The classically correct plural is papyri. A type of rush or reed formerly abundant on marshy river banks in Egypt, Palestine, etc., it afforded the ancient Egyptians a convenient and inexpensive writing surface. Related: Papyraceous.
updated on January 21, 2020
Dictionary entries near papyrus