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Tháng Tám 15, 2007


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diaphanous \dy-AF-uh-nuhs\, adjective:
1. Of such fine texture as to allow light to pass through; translucent or transparent.
2. Vague; insubstantial.

The curtains are thin, a diaphanous membrane that can’t quite contain the light outside.
— Eric Liu, The Accidental Asian

She needed more than diaphanous hope, more than I could give her.
— Tej Rae, “One Hand Extended”, Washington Post, August 12, 2001

Diaphanous ultimately derives from Greek diaphanes, “showing through,” from diaphainein, “to show through, to be transparent,” from dia-, “through” + phainein, “to show, to appear.” It is related to phantom, something apparently sensed but having no physical reality.

Dictionary.com Entry and Pronunciation for diaphanous

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)Cite This Source

di·aph·a·nous [dahy-afuh-nuhs] Pronunciation KeyShow IPA Pronunciation


1. very sheer and light; almost completely transparent or translucent.
2. delicately hazy.


[Origin: 1605–15; < ML diaphanus < Gk diaphan(s) transparent (equiv. to diaphan-, s. of diaphaínein to show through (see dia-, -phane) + -és adj. suffix) + -ous]

di·aph·a·nous·ly, adverb

di·aph·a·nous·ness, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

American Heritage DictionaryCite This Source

di·aph·a·nous (dī-āf’ə-nəs) Pronunciation Key

  1. Of such fine texture as to be transparent or translucent: diaphanous tulle.
  2. Characterized by delicacy of form. See Synonyms at airy.
  3. Vague or insubstantial: diaphanous dreams of glory.

[From Medieval Latin diaphanus, transparent, from Greek diaphanēs, from diaphainein, to be transparent : dia-, dia- + phainein, phan-, to show; see bhā-1 in Indo-European roots.]

di’a·pha·ne’i·ty (dī’ə-fə-nē’ĭ-tē), di·aph’a·nous·ness n., di·aph’a·nous·ly adv.

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The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Online Etymology DictionaryCite This Source

1614, from M.L. diaphanus, from Gk. diaphanes, from dia- “through” + phainesthai, middle voice form (subject acting on itself) of phainein “to show.”

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper

WordNetCite This Source

so thin as to transmit light; “a hat with a diaphanous veil”; “filmy wings of a moth”; “gauzy clouds of dandelion down”; “gossamer cobwebs”; “sheer silk stockings”; “transparent chiffon”; “vaporous silks”

WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University.

Dictionary.com Word of the Day ArchiveCite This Source diaphanous

diaphanous was Word of the Day on February 28, 2000.

Dictionary.com Word of the Day

On-line Medical DictionaryCite This Source diaphanous

diaphanous: in CancerWEB’s On-line Medical Dictionary

On-line Medical Dictionary, © 1997-98 Academic Medical Publishing & CancerWEB


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