- A manuscript, typically of papyrus or parchment, that has been written on more than once, with the earlier writing incompletely erased and often legible.
- An object, place, or area that reflects its history: “Spaniards in the sixteenth century . . . saw an ocean moving south . . . through a palimpsest of bayous and distributary streams in forested paludal basins” (John McPhee).
[Latin palimpsēstum, from Greek palimpsēston, neuter of palimpsēstos, scraped again : palin, again + psēn, to scrape.]