trip·​tych | \ ˈtrip-(ˌ)tik How to pronounce triptych (audio) \

Definition of triptych

1a : a picture (such as an altarpiece) or carving in three panels side by side
b : something composed or presented in three parts or sections especially : trilogy
2 : an ancient Roman writing tablet with three waxed leaves hinged together

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Triptych Has Greek Roots

A painted or carved triptych typically has three hinged panels, and the two outer panels can be folded in towards the central one. A literary or musical triptych generally consists of three closely related or contrasting themes or parts. Triptych derives from the Greek triptychos ("having three folds"), formed by combining tri- ("three") and ptychē ("fold" or "layer"). Although triptych originally described a specific type of Roman writing tablet that had three hinged sections, it is not surprising that the idea was generalized first to a type of painting, and then to anything composed of three parts.

Examples of triptych in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Shevarim, the cry from the heart, the triptych of notes that speak of a sense of brokenness. The Economist, "Obituary: Jennie Litvack died on June 27th," 11 July 2019 Each individual, displayed as a triptych, emphasizes different aspects of their root cultures, aesthetically reinterpreting and juxtaposing the various elements of dress. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Encinitas Friends of the Arts presents Passport to Dance," 9 May 2019 Longhi later contended that three paintings by the master, which are grouped in a triptych at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, had also started life in the chapel and been separated from the others when it was rebuilt in the 16th century. John Hooper, WSJ, "At Long Last, Early Renaissance Works Are Reunited," 28 Nov. 2018 Last Thursday, the results of their alliance unfolded onstage at the famous Roman theater, in a triptych of ballets entitled Philip Glass Evening. Giacomo Minazzi, Vogue, "At the World Premiere of Nuit Blanche, Costumed by Dior, Fashion and Ballet Collided Gracefully Onstage," 1 Apr. 2019 Nathan Schwarz, a 21-year-old student, has a triptych of Dior skateboards, including one which features the work of artist Francois Bard, on the wall of his Torquay, Australia house. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "Can a Skateboard Be a Work of Art?," 19 Nov. 2018 Then imagine three of those frames projected side by side, triptych-style, on a screen that would fill your peripheral vision. Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times, "Long Before Imax, the Curious Tale of Cinerama," 18 Jan. 2018 His original off-Broadway calling cards here were a triptych of his hit Chicago shows. Chris Jones,, "David Cromer a Tonys favorite for 'Band's Visit' — could you call this a giddy moment?," 7 June 2018 On display at every turn are major works from KAWS, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Damien Hirst, whose shark triptych and spot paintings are the centerpiece of the resort's Unknown bar. Melinda Sheckells, Billboard, "The Palms in Las Vegas Banks on Music, Art & A Nice View With $620M Renovation," 29 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'triptych.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of triptych

1731, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for triptych

Greek triptychos having three folds, from tri- + ptychē fold

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Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

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The first known use of triptych was in 1731

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English Language Learners Definition of triptych

: a picture (such as a painting) that has three panels placed next to each other

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with triptych Encyclopedia article about triptych

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something desired as essential

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