1 : an ancient Roman writing tablet with three waxed leaves hinged together
2 a : 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
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.
The panels of the triptych illustrated the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity.
"'Certain Women,' her latest film and arguably the most precise expression of [Kelly] Reichardt's vision to date, is a triptych based on three short stories by the Montana-raised author Maile Meloy." — Alice Gregory, The New York Times, 16 Oct. 2016
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Vocabulary
Fill in the blanks to create a word for the base of an altarpiece containing decorated panels: pr _ d _ _ la.VIEW THE ANSWER
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