trans·​lu·​cent tran(t)s-ˈlü-sᵊnt How to pronounce translucent (audio)
: permitting the passage of light:
: transmitting and diffusing light so that objects beyond cannot be seen clearly
: clear, transparent
translucent water
: free from disguise or falseness
his translucent patriotismNewsweek
translucently adverb

Did you know?

Let’s shine a light on translucent and a couple of its relatives. Look closely and you will see the same group of three letters in translucent, elucidate, and lucid, illuminating the family relationship between the three words. All descend from the Latin word lucēre, meaning "to shine." Translucent is from lucēre plus trans-, which means "through"—hence, something translucent allows light to pass through. To elucidate something is to metaphorically shine a light on it by explaining it clearly; a lucid person is able to think clearly, and lucid writing is easy to understand. We hope this light explainer helps clarify things.

Choose the Right Synonym for translucent

clear, transparent, translucent, limpid mean capable of being seen through.

clear implies absence of cloudiness, haziness, or muddiness.

clear water

transparent implies being so clear that objects can be seen distinctly.

a transparent sheet of film

translucent implies the passage of light but not a clear view of what lies beyond.

translucent frosted glass

limpid suggests the soft clearness of pure water.

her eyes were limpid pools of blue

Examples of translucent in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web What’s more, the translucent primer has a gel formulation that comfortably sits on skin all day, extending the wear of makeup. Jenny Berg, Vogue, 4 Apr. 2024 In these storage rooms-turned-displays, an area known as the Collections Core, visitors can view jars of preserved fish specimens, their skin turned translucent, their skeletons stained a bright red. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, 4 Apr. 2024 The collector’s item is made from translucent polyester, weighing in at 14.5 pounds (about the heaviness of what a real pro would use). Demetrius Simms, Robb Report, 1 Mar. 2024 The skin, dark gold and translucent as stained glass, is pure crackle. Ligaya Mishan Kyoko Hamada, New York Times, 18 Feb. 2024 This model of a handheld vacuum cleaner with colored, translucent, and transparent parts was printed in one piece on a Mimaki inkjet 3D printer. Phillip W. Barth, IEEE Spectrum, 25 Mar. 2024 The nappa leather on a macintosh coat from fall 2022 is startlingly translucent lime green, revealing the barest outlines of the white undergarments beneath. Monica Kim, Vogue, 21 Mar. 2024 Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent but not browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Christina Morales, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Mar. 2024 This translucent finishing spray delivers texture and volume instantly. Celia Shatzman, Forbes, 26 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'translucent.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin translucent-, translucens, present participle of translucēre to shine through, from trans- + lucēre to shine — more at light

First Known Use

1568, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of translucent was in 1568


Dictionary Entries Near translucent

Cite this Entry

“Translucent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


trans·​lu·​cent tran(t)s-ˈlüs-ᵊnt How to pronounce translucent (audio)
: clear and pure as if shining from within
a translucent lake
: not transparent but clear enough to allow light to pass through
frosted glass is translucent

Medical Definition


trans·​lu·​cent -ᵊnt How to pronounce translucent (audio)
: permitting the passage of light
especially : transmitting and diffusing light so that objects beyond cannot be seen clearly
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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