late 14c., parboilen, "to boil partially;" mid-15c., "to boil thoroughly," from Old French parboillir "to boil thoroughly," from Medieval Latin perbullire "to boil thoroughly," from Latin per "through, thoroughly" (see per (prep.)) + bullire "to boil" (see boil (v.)). The etymological sense is extinct in English; the surviving meaning "boil partially" is by mistaken association of the prefix with part. Related: Parboiled; parboiling.
updated on January 14, 2020