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[trans-pair-uh nt, -par-] /trænsˈpɛər ənt, -ˈpær-/
having the property of transmitting rays of light through its substance so that bodies situated beyond or behind can be distinctly seen.
admitting the passage of light through interstices.
so sheer as to permit light to pass through; diaphanous.
easily seen through, recognized, or detected:
transparent excuses.
manifest; obvious:
a story with a transparent plot.
open; frank; candid:
the man's transparent earnestness.
Computers. (of a process or software) operating in such a way as to not be perceived by users.
Obsolete. shining through, as light.
Origin of transparent
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Medieval Latin trānspārent- (stem of trānspārēns) showing through (present participle of trānspārēre), equivalent to Latin trāns- trans- + pārent- (stem of pārēns), present participle of pārēre to appear; see apparent
Related forms
transparently, adverb
transparentness, noun
nontransparent, adjective
nontransparently, adverb
nontransparentness, noun
subtransparent, adjective
subtransparently, adverb
subtransparentness, noun
untransparent, adjective
untransparently, adverb
untransparentness, noun
Can be confused
translucent, transparent (see synonym study at the current entry)
1. clear, pellucid, limpid, crystalline. T ransparent , translucent agree in describing material that light rays can pass through. That which is transparent allows objects to be seen clearly through it: Clear water is transparent. That which is translucent allows light to pass through, diffusing it, however, so that objects beyond are not distinctly seen: Ground glass is translucent.
1. opaque. 6. secretive. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for transparent
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The rivulet was no longer green, but a clear, transparent crystal.

    A Voyage to Arcturus David Lindsay
  • But how changed was that transparent rivulet after it entered the lake.

    Days Off Henry Van Dyke
  • The picture was gone in a second, of course; and I glared at the orchard fence as though that should make it transparent.

    The Record of Nicholas Freydon A. J. (Alec John) Dawson
  • Her complexion was transparent, and she had little color in her cheeks.

    The Opal Serpent Fergus Hume
  • Black oxyde of manganese is also used in small quantities, with the view of rendering the glass more colorless and transparent.

British Dictionary definitions for transparent


/trænsˈpærənt; -ˈpɛər-/
permitting the uninterrupted passage of light; clear: a window is transparent
easy to see through, understand, or recognize; obvious
(of a substance or object) permitting the free passage of electromagnetic radiation: a substance that is transparent to X-rays
candid, open, or frank
Derived Forms
transparently, adverb
transparentness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Medieval Latin transpārēre to show through, from Latin trans- + pārēre to appear
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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Word Origin and History for transparent

early 15c., from Medieval Latin transparentem (nominative transparens), present participle of transparere "show light through," from Latin trans- "through" (see trans-) + parere "come in sight, appear" (see appear). Figurative sense of "easily seen through" is first attested 1590s. The attempt to back-form a verb transpare (c.1600) died with the 17c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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transparent in Science
Allowing radiation or matter to pass through with little or no resistance or diffusion. Compare opaque, translucent. See Note at glass.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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transparent in Technology

1. Not visible, hidden; said of a system which functions in a manner not evident to the user. For example, the Domain Name System transparently resolves a fully qualified domain name into an IP address without the user being aware of it.
Compare this to what Donald Norman ( calls "invisibility", which he illustrates from the user's point of view:
"You use computers when you use many modern automobiles, microwave ovens, games, CD players and calculators. You don't notice the computer because you think of yourself as doing the task, not as using the computer." ["The Design of Everyday Things", New York, Doubleday, 1989, p. 185].
2. Fully defined, known, predictable; said of a sub-system in which matters generally subject to volition or stochastic state change have been chosen, measured, or determined by the environment. Thus for transparent systems, output is a known function of the inputs, and users can both predict the behaviour and depend upon it.
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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