"apparatus, usually in the shape of a very large umbrella, carried in an aircraft, that may allow a person or thing to drop to the surface below without injury or damage," 1784 (the year the first use of one was attempted, in Paris), from French parachute, literally "that which protects against a fall," hybrid coined by French aeronaut François Blanchard (1753-1809) from para- "defense against" (see para- (2)) + chute "a fall" (see chute).
PARACHUTE, a kind of large and strong umbrella, contrived to break a person's fall from an airballoon, should any accident happen to the balloon at a high elevation. ["Supplement to the Encyclopaedia or Dictionary of Arts and Sciences," Philadelphia, 1803]
"to descend or convey by or as if by the aid of a parachute," 1807, from parachute (n.). Marked "rare" in Century Dictionary (1895); it became more common 20c. Related: Parachuted; parachuting.