from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Capable of transmitting light so that objects or images can be seen as if there were no intervening material. synonym: clear.
  • adjective Permeable to electromagnetic radiation of specified frequencies, as to visible light or radio waves.
  • adjective So fine in texture that it can be seen through; sheer.
  • adjective Easily seen through or detected; obvious.
  • adjective Free from guile; candid or open.
  • adjective Open to public scrutiny; not hidden or proprietary.
  • adjective Obsolete Shining through; luminous.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Having the property of transmitting rays of light so that bodies situated beyond or behind can be distinctly seen; transmitting light-waves radiated from some source, without absorption or scattering; pervious to light; diaphanous; pellucid: as, transparent glass; a transparent diamond: opposed to opaque, and distinguished from translucent.
  • Admitting the passage of light through interstices.
  • Figuratively, easily seen through or understood; easily intelligible.
  • Bright; shining; clear.
  • Synonyms Bright, limpid, crystalline.
  • noun A costume consisting of a dress of lace, tulle, gauze, or other thin fabric, worn over another dress of rich material. This fashion seems to have been introduced about 1675.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Having the property of transmitting rays of light, so that bodies can be distinctly seen through; pervious to light; diaphanous; pellucid; ; -- opposed to opaque.
  • adjective Admitting the passage of light; open; porous.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective of a material or object See-through, clear; having the property that light passes through it almost undisturbed, such that one can see through it clearly.
  • adjective of a system or organization Open, public; having the property that theories and practices are publicly visible, thereby reducing the chance of corruption.
  • adjective Obvious; readily apparent; easy to see or understand.

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

  • adjective free of deceit
  • adjective easily understood or seen through (because of a lack of subtlety)
  • adjective transmitting light; able to be seen through with clarity
  • adjective so thin as to transmit light


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

[Middle English, from Old French, from Medieval Latin trānspārēns, trānspārent-, present participle of trānspārēre, to show through : Latin trāns-, trans- + Latin pārēre, to show.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Medieval Latin transpārentis (genitive singular of transpārens, present participle of transpāreō)



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  • user transparent

    June 20, 2007

  • (fd) seeing your Dad move in with another woman.

    (Thanks Graham Burgess)

    January 24, 2008

  • "The cold spiced beef with carrots made its appearance, couched by the Michelangelo of our kitchen upon enormous crystals of aspic, like transparent blocks of quartz."

    -- Within a Budding Grove by Marcel Proust, translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, Revised by D.J. Enright, p 39 of the Modern Library paperback edition

    March 5, 2008

  • "The grey light, falling like a fine rain, wove without ceasing a transparent web through which the Sunday strollers appeared in a silvery sheen."

    --The Guermantes Way by Marcel Proust, translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, Revised by D.J. Enright, p 474 of the Modern Library paperback edition

    September 2, 2008

  • Contranymic: "open, visible" (the negotiations must be transparent so that everyone has the same information); "invisible" (the system upgrade should be transparent to the users).

    January 3, 2009

  • 'Opaque' is autantonymous for the same reason, which always slows me down: the interface is opaque to users, so that means, uh . . .

    January 3, 2009

  • I don't see (pun intended) "transparent" as being contranymic or autantonymous. The core notion of transparency is that something becomes invisible so that something else can be visible. Etymologically, the word means "appearing through". When we say, "The negotiations should be transparent", we are using a kind of metonymy: the transparency refers to the framework of the negotiations, which should be "invisible" (not opaque), allowing us to see what is actually happening. To call the word "transparent" contranymic seems to flatten it into two opposing meanings, whereas it actually conveys a single metaphorical meaning that is whole, if complex.

    January 3, 2009

  • rolig, I think that's how most, if not all autoantonyms work; that's why I'm not a fan of them and don't find them particularly fascinating. Each to their own, though.

    January 3, 2009

  • I like contranyms, if the opposing meanings are truly well established and especially if they are etymologically distinct (like, I think, "cleave", the classic example of a contranym), or if they separated so long ago that their common origin is essentially forgotten, or when a certain use of a word is so counterintuitive as to be remarkable (e.g. the use of "commencement" to refer to a ceremony that marks the completion of one's education).

    January 3, 2009

  • "When I followed my instinct only, the jellyfish used to revolt me at Balbec; but if I had the eyes to regard them, like Michelet, from the standpoint of natural history and aesthetics, I saw an exquisite blue girandole. Are they not, with the transparent velvet of their petals, as it were the mauve orchids of the sea?"

    --Sodom and Gomorrah by Marcel Proust, translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, revised by D.J. Enright, p 36 of the Modern Library paperback edition

    January 24, 2009