from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any early document (such as a roll of papyrus) that has writing on the back as well as the front
  • n. Any early book that has letterpress printing on both sides of the page

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In classical antiquity, a manuscript written, contrary to custom, on the back as well as the front of the roll of papyrus or parchment.
  • n. A slab inscribed on the back as well as the front, the side bearing the original inscription having been turned to the wall, and the other side utilized for a later inscription.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • It was a common practice in Greek and Latin lands to make use of slabs already inscribed, i.e. to take the reverse of a slab containing a heathen inscription for the inscribing of a Christian one; such a slab is called an opisthograph.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 8: Infamy-Lapparent


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