Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. something transparent or diaphanous
  • n. a woven silk stuff with transparent and colored figures

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A woven silk stuff with transparent and colored figures; diaper work.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A silk fabric having figures more translucent than the rest of the stuff.
  • n. In anatomy, a cell-wall; the investing membrane of a cell or sac.

Etymologies

Via Old French, from Medieval Latin diaphanus ("diaphanous"), from Ancient Greek διαφανής, from διά ("through") and φαίνω ("show"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The liqueur diaphane, which is finally applied, renders them perfectly transparent.

    Young's Demonstrative Translation of Scientific Secrets

  • French poet, has said, "L'allégorie habite un palais diaphane" -- _Allegory lives in a transparent palace.

    The Symbolism of Freemasonry

  • Take great care to allow, whatever you use, time to dry before applying the liqueur diaphane.

    Young's Demonstrative Translation of Scientific Secrets

  • She was _diaphane_, diaphanous ... impalpable as cigarette-smoke ... a little nose like nothing at all, with nostrils like infinitesimal sea-shells.

    The Joyous Adventures of Aristide Pujol

  • Champs-Elysées, du Sacre du printemps dont le scandale triomphal éclipsa totalement Jeux, une partition bien trop complexe, diaphane, subtile, ésotérique presque, que l'on a mis une cinquantaine d'années à comprendre réellement.

    AvaxHome

  • Conveniently enough, Stephen's thoughts immediately turn to color, nodding to the Aristotelian precept (via all that "diaphane, adiaphane" business) that what is seen is seen because it has color

    Anime Nano!

  • Consider his approach: he begins with the general visual attribute of color, explores fully the related specifics of his surroundings ( "Snotgreen, bluesilver, rust: coloured signs"), acknowledges that vision alone has limits ( "Limits of the diaphane"), steps out of the visual modality and into the audible, and begins the process anew.

    Anime Nano!

  • "Une jeune femme, dont la délicate et elégante tournure, la peau blanche et diaphane, les cheveux blonds, les mouvemens onduleux, toute une tournure impossible à décrire autrement qu'en disant qu'elle était de toutes les créatures la plus gracieuse, lui donnaient l'aspect d'une de ces apparitions amenées par un rêve heureux ... il y avail de la Sylphide en elle.

    The Works of Lord Byron: Letters and Journals. Vol. 1

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Comments

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  • References to diaphane, spelt "diafane", appear in Ezra Pound's Cantos. Robert Grosseteste (13th Cent.) was probably Pound's source: "For we see light not by itself but in a certain subject, and this is the diafane."

    July 16, 2009