[dahy-af-uh-nuh s]


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

Origin of diaphanous

1605–15; < Medieval Latin diaphanus < Greek diaphan(ḗs) transparent, equivalent to diaphan-, stem of diaphaínein to show through (see dia-, -phane) + -ēs adj. suffix) + -ous
Related formsdi·aph·a·nous·ly, adverbdi·aph·a·nous·ness, nounnon·di·aph·a·nous, adjectivenon·di·aph·a·nous·ly, adverbnon·di·aph·a·nous·ness, nounsem·i·di·aph·a·nous, adjectivesem·i·di·aph·a·nous·ly, adverbsem·i·di·aph·a·nous·ness, nounun·di·aph·a·nous, adjectiveun·di·aph·a·nous·ly, adverbun·di·aph·a·nous·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for diaphanous

Contemporary Examples of diaphanous

  • As the audience enters, the diaphanous curtains onstage are gently blowing in the breezes of the Amalfi coast.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Tennessee Williams' Forgotten Masterpiece

    Janice Kaplan

    January 25, 2011

  • From mesh and lace to the sheer and diaphanous, transparency was a clear favorite on the runways.

    The Daily Beast logo
    'Molto Sexy' in Milan

    Isabel Wilkinson

    September 29, 2009

Historical Examples of diaphanous

  • She was clad only in the diaphanous robes of her calling, and she was stacked.

    Pagan Passions

    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • The kind of bench which Alma-Tadema usually fills with diaphanous maidens.

    The Lure of the Mask

    Harold MacGrath

  • Polly glanced at her diaphanous pajamas and nodded cheerfully.

    Across the Mesa

    Jarvis Hall

  • Coridon must be visionary and diaphanous, or he is no Coridon for me.

    Olla Podrida

    Frederick Marryat (AKA Captain Marryat)

  • The crystalline lens is voluminous, spherical, and diaphanous.

    The Ocean World:

    Louis Figuier

British Dictionary definitions for diaphanous



(usually of fabrics such as silk) fine and translucent
Derived Formsdiaphanously, adverbdiaphanousness or diaphaneity (ˌdaɪəfəˈniːɪtɪ), noun

Word Origin for diaphanous

C17: from Medieval Latin diaphanus, from Greek diaphanēs transparent, from diaphainein to show through, from dia- + phainein to show
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

Word Origin and History for diaphanous

1610s, from Medieval Latin diaphanus, from Greek diaphanes "transparent," from dia- "through" (see dia-) + phainesthai, middle voice form (subject acting on itself) of phainein "to show" (see phantasm).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper