Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To cook partially by boiling for a brief period: parboiled and then sautéed the new potatoes.
  • transitive v. To subject to intense, often uncomfortable heat.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To boil food briefly so that it is partly cooked.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To boil or cook thoroughly.
  • transitive v. To boil in part; to cook partially by boiling.
  • transitive v. To do (something) only part way, or incompletely. Also used intransitively.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To boil thoroughly.
  • To boil slightly or in a moderate degree; half-boil.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. cook (vegetables) briefly

Etymologies

Middle English parboilen, to boil partly, to boil thoroughly (influenced by part, part), from Old French parboillir, to boil thoroughly, from Late Latin perbullīre : Latin per-, thoroughly; see per- + Latin bullīre, to boil.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French parbouillir ("to boil thoroughly"), from Medieval Latin perbulliō, from Latin per ("thoroughly") + bulliō ("I boil"). Sense “to boil partially” (c.1440), rather than original “to boil thoroughly” is by corruption: associating the prefix with part (from Latin pars ("part")) rather than per. (Wiktionary)

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