Word of the Day : December 13, 2017

diaphanous

play
adjective dye-AF-uh-nus

Definition

1 : characterized by such fineness of texture as to permit seeing through

2 : characterized by extreme delicacy of form : ethereal

3 : insubstantial, vague

Did You Know?

Can you guess which of the following words come from the same Greek root as diaphanous?

A. epiphany B. fancy C. phenomenon D. sycophant E. emphasis F. phase

The Greek word phainein shows through more clearly in some of our quiz words than others, but it underlies all of them. The groundwork for diaphanous was laid when phainein (meaning "to show") was combined with dia- (meaning "through"). From that pairing came the Greek diaphanēs, parent of the Medieval Latin diaphanus, which is the direct ancestor of our English word.


Examples

"For an hour and 45 minutes, Jackson wound through the various chapters of her career, directing her diaphanous voice to nearly three dozen songs…. " — Brian McCollum, The Detroit Free Press, 30 Oct. 2017

"… no element of Sienna Miller’s wardrobe—the hippy vests, the diaphanous vintage dresses, the scrunched, sun-weathered lace blouses—went undiscussed or undocumented." — Mark Holgate, Vogue, 30 Oct. 2017



Word Family Quiz

What word is derived from Greek phainein ("to show") and is the name for the luminous floating shapes that you see when closing your eyes tight and pressing them with your fingers?

VIEW THE ANSWER

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