Definition of parergon in English:

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Pronunciation: /pəˈrərˌɡän/

noun (plural parerga /-ɡə/)

1A piece of work that is supplementary to or a byproduct of a larger work.
Example sentences
  • But the frame itself is part of a problematic list to which belongs such other terms like the parergon, the supplement and the hymen.
  • In his essay on vernacular photography, Geoffrey Batchen uses Derrida's term ‘parerga’ [literally ‘next to main work’] to describe the personal, intimate photographies that have fallen outside the canon of ‘proper’ photography.
  • The effect of this rethinking can be seen, for instance, in Paolo Giovio's reference to Dosso's landscape paintings as parerga - distinct from, yet necessarily linked to, the artist's ‘proper works.’
1.1 archaic Work that is subsidiary to one’s ordinary employment: he pursued astronomy as a parergon


Early 17th century: via Latin from Greek parergon, from para- 'beside, additional' + ergon 'work'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: par·er·gon

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