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[tim-puh-nuh m] /ˈtɪm pə nəm/
noun, plural tympanums, tympana
[tim-puh-nuh] /ˈtɪm pə nə/ (Show IPA)
Anatomy, Zoology.
  1. middle ear.
  2. tympanic membrane.
  1. the recessed, usually triangular space enclosed between the horizontal and sloping cornices of a pediment, often decorated with sculpture.
  2. a similar space between an arch and the horizontal head of a door or window below.
Electricity. the diaphragm of a telephone.
a drum or similar instrument.
the stretched membrane forming a drumhead.
Origin of tympanum
1610-20; < Latin < Greek týmpanon drum, akin to týptein to beat, strike Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for tympanum


noun (pl) -nums, -na (-nə)
  1. the cavity of the middle ear
  2. another name for tympanic membrane
any diaphragm resembling that in the middle ear in function
(architect) Also called tympan
  1. the recessed space bounded by the cornices of a pediment, esp one that is triangular in shape and ornamented
  2. the recessed space bounded by an arch and the lintel of a doorway or window below it
(music) a tympan or drum
a scoop wheel for raising water
Word Origin
C17: from Latin, from Greek tumpanon drum; related to Greek tuptein to beat
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 tympanum

"drum of the ear," 1610s, from Medieval Latin tympanum, introduced in this sense by Italian anatomist Gabriello Fallopio (1523-1562), from Latin tympanum "drum," from Greek tympanon "a drum, panel of a door," from root of typtein "to beat, strike" (see type (n.)). Cf. Old English timpan "drum, timbrel, tambourine," from Latin tympanum. The modern meaning "a drum" is attested in English from 1670s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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tympanum in Medicine

tympanum tym·pa·num or tim·pa·num (tĭm'pə-nəm)
n. tym·pa·nums or tym·pa·na (-nə)

  1. See middle ear.

  2. See eardrum.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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