late 14c., from Latin, from Greek Parnassos, mountain in central Greece, sacred to Apollo and the Muses, thus symbolic of poetry. Room writes that the name is from Hittite parna "abode." Related: Parnassian.
Various kinds of literary fame seem destined to various measures of duration. Some spread into exuberance with a very speedy growth, but soon wither and decay; some rise more slowly, but last long. Parnassus has its flowers of transient fragrance, as well as its oaks of towering height, and its laurels of eternal verdure. [Samuel Johnson, "The Rambler," March 23, 1751]