Definitions

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

  • n. An untanned animal hide soaked in lye and water to remove the hair and then dried on a stretcher.
  • n. An article, such as a shield, made of this hide.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A form of stiff leather made from rawhide
  • n. A shield, bag or other item made from this material

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A kind of rawhide consisting of hide, esp. of the buffalo, which has been soaked in crude wood-ash lye to remove the hairs, and then dried.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The hide of an animal (preferably of a bull-buffalo) from which the hair has been removed by soaking in water mixed with wood-ashes, and which is then stretched on a frame so as to take the desired shape, and allowed to dry.

Etymologies

Canadian French parflèche : French parer, to parry, defend; see parry + French flèche, arrow; see flèche.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
French parer + flèche (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • a raw hide soaked in lye to remove the hair and dried

    an article (as a bag or case) made of parfleche

    The parfleche was used by the Plains Indians as a container for storage and transportation. The word is French in origin (pare une fleche) meaning "deflects arrows" referring to the hard semi-tanned hide used to make the containers as well as shields. They were used to carry dried meat and pemmican and also clothing, tools, valuables and other materials.

    January 22, 2008