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[thaw-muh-trohp] /ˈθɔ məˌtroʊp/
a card with different pictures on opposite sides, as a horse on one side and a rider on the other, which appear as if combined when the card is twirled rapidly, thus illustrating the persistence of visual impressions.
Origin of thaumatrope
First recorded in 1820-30; thauma(to)- + -trope
Related forms
[thaw-muh-trop-i-kuh l] /ˌθɔ məˈtrɒp ɪ kəl/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for thaumatrope
Historical Examples
  • Why do the figures upon the "thaumatrope" appear to dance, when they are made to revolve before a mirror?

    The Reason Why Anonymous
  • The thaumatrope, then, did nothing more than illustrate the power of the eye to weld together a couple of alternating impressions.

    The Romance of Modern Invention Archibald Williams
  • These memories lie in confusion, unformed and undefined, like pictures in a thaumatrope.

    The Son of a Servant August Strindberg
British Dictionary definitions for thaumatrope


a toy in which partial pictures on the two sides of a card appear to merge when the card is twirled rapidly
Derived Forms
thaumatropical (ˌθɔːməˈtrɒpɪkəl) adjective
Word Origin
C19: from thaumato- + -trope
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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