diapason

noun

di·​a·​pa·​son ˌdī-ə-ˈpā-zᵊn How to pronounce diapason (audio)
-sᵊn
1
a
: a burst of sound
diapasons of laughter
b
: the principal foundation stop in the organ extending through the complete range of the instrument
c(1)
: the entire compass of musical tones
(2)
: range, scope
registers the full diapason of her responsesMindy Aloff
2
b
: a standard of pitch

Did you know?

Diapason covers a wide range of meanings in English, almost all pertaining to music or sound. The word derives from the Greek roots dia-, which means "through" and occurs in such words as diameter and diagonal, and pasōn, the genitive feminine plural of pas, meaning "all." Pas is related to the prefix pan-, which is used in such words as pantheism and pandemic. In Greek, the phrase hē dia pasōn chordōn symphōnia translates literally to "the concord through all the notes," with the word concord here referring to a combination of tones that are heard simultaneously and produce an agreeable impression on the listener.

Example Sentences

the survey ultimately recorded the full diapason of seemingly possible replies regarding sexual practices

Word History

Etymology

Middle English, from Latin, from Greek (hē) dia pasōn (chordōn symphōnia), literally, the concord through all the notes, from dia through + pasōn, genitive feminine plural of pas all — more at dia-, pan-

First Known Use

circa 1501, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of diapason was circa 1501

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Cite this Entry

“Diapason.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diapason. Accessed 27 Jan. 2023.

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