Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A work consisting of two painted or carved panels that are hinged together.
  • n. An ancient writing tablet having two leaves hinged together.
  • n. A list of names, originally contained on such a tablet, of living and dead Christians for whom special prayers are made during the liturgy in many eastern and western churches.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A writing tablet consisting of two leaves of rigid material connected by hinges and shutting together so as to protect the writing within.
  • n. A picture or series of pictures painted on two tablets, usually connected by hinges.
  • n. A double catalogue, containing in one part the names of living, and in the other of deceased, ecclesiastics and benefactors of the church.
  • n. A catalogue of saints.
  • n. Artistically-wrought tablets distributed by consuls, etc. of the later Roman Empire to commemorate their tenure of office; hence transferred to a list of magistrates
  • n. a. a literary work consisting of two contrasting parts (as a narrative telling the same story from two opposing points of view) "a diptych, a pastoral in which the author narrates the birth of Christ ... first as it has impressed the rich countryman Asveer, then as it has been seen by the skeptic Nicodemus" -- François Closset b. any work made up of two matching parts treating complementary or contrasting pictorial phases of one general topic "the first volume of a diptych Vegetation and Flora of the Sonoran Desert" -- F.E. Egler

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Anything consisting of two leaves.
  • n. A writing tablet consisting of two leaves of rigid material connected by hinges and shutting together so as to protect the writing within.
  • n. A picture or series of pictures painted on two tablets connected by hinges. See triptych.
  • n. A double catalogue, containing in one part the names of living, and in the other of deceased, ecclesiastics and benefactors of the church; a catalogue of saints.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A hinged two-leaved tablet of wood, ivory, or metal, with waxed inner surfaces, used by the Greeks and Romans for writing with the style.
  • n. In the early church: The tablets on which were written the names of those who were to be especially commemorated at the celebration of the eucharist.
  • n. The list of names so recorded.
  • n. The intercessions in the course of which these names were introduced.
  • n. In art, a pair of pictures or carvings on two panels hinged together.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a painting or carving (especially an altarpiece) on two panels (usually hinged like a book)

Etymologies

Late Latin diptycha, from Greek diptukha, from neuter pl. of diptukhos, folded double : di-, two; see di-1 + ptukhē, fold (from ptussein, ptukh-, to fold).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Late Latin diptycha, plural, from Ancient Greek, neuter plural of δίπτυχος (diptychos, "folded, doubled"), from δι (di) + -πτυχος (-ptychos) (akin to Greek πτυχή (ptyche, "fold, layer")). (Wiktionary)

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