Clear and to the Point

13 April, 2010

Word origins: parched

Filed under: language — monado @ 09:42
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I was struck by the similarity between parched and parcheminée in this line from a book by Irène Delse.

La plaine était grise et sèche comme une chose morte, parcheminée par le soleil.

Is something very dry left by the chimney too long? So I looked it up.

Possibly: Parcheminé, adj. – parched, like parchment.

Answers.com has

Origin: 1622. As a word for the result of roasting, parched is attested in English as far back as the 1400s.

Just as a biscuit is bis cuit, “twice cooked,” so parched may have originally meant “dried near the chimney.” Was parchment dried? Or was it “parched” or blanched by treating it with lime? I’ll have to consult my Ayto’s Word Origins.

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