tran·​spic·​u·​ous | \ tran(t)s-ˈpi-kyə-wəs How to pronounce transpicuous (audio) \

Definition of transpicuous

: clearly seen through or understood

Did you know?

Transpicuous is derived from the Latin word transpicere, meaning "to look through." "Transpicere," in turn, is a formation that combines trans-, meaning "through," and "specere," a verb meaning "to look" or "to see." If you guessed that "transpicuous" is related to "conspicuous," you're correct. It's also possible to see a number of other "specere" descendants in English, including "aspect," "circumspect," "expect," "inspect," "perspective," and "suspect." Another descendant of "specere," and a close synonym of "transpicuous," is "perspicuous," which means "clear and easy to understand," as in "a perspicuous argument." ("Per-," like trans-, means "through.") There's also perspicacious, meaning "keen and observant." (You might say that "perspicuous" and "transpicuous" mean "able to be seen through," whereas perspicacious means "able to see through.")

First Known Use of transpicuous

1638, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for transpicuous

New Latin transpicuus, from Latin transpicere to look through, from trans- + specere to look, see — more at spy

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About transpicuous

Time Traveler for transpicuous

Time Traveler

The first known use of transpicuous was in 1638

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About transpicuous

Dictionary Entries Near transpicuous




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for transpicuous

Cite this Entry

“Transpicuous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!