Definition of triptych
1a : a picture (such as an altarpiece) or carving in three panels side by sideb : something composed or presented in three parts or sections; especially : trilogy
2 : an ancient Roman writing tablet with three waxed leaves hinged together
triptych was our Word of the Day on 11/09/2016. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
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.
Origin and Etymology of triptych
Greek triptychos having three folds, from tri- + ptychē fold
First Known Use: 1731
TRIPTYCH Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of triptych for English Language Learners
: a picture (such as a painting) that has three panels placed next to each other
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