a hinged two-leaved tablet used in ancient times for writing on with a stylus.
Usually diptychs.
  1. a similar tablet of wood or metal containing on one leaf the names of those among the living, and on the other those among the dead, for whom prayers and Masses are said.
  2. the lists of such persons.
  3. the intercession in the course of which these names were introduced.
a pair of pictures or carvings on two panels, usually hinged together.

Origin of diptych

1615–25; < Late Latin diptycha writing tablet with two leaves < Greek díptycha, neuter plural of díptychos folded together, equivalent to di- di-1 + -ptychos, verbid of ptýssein to fold
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for diptych

Contemporary Examples of diptych

  • Then he paired the pictures of past and present in diptych form.

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    Hai Bo and China's Photography Boom

    Philip Gefter

    January 20, 2011

  • "Quickening" introduces the second room of the exhibit and features a diptych of pregnant women, their faces also ravaged by time.

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    A Woman in Full

    Chloe Malle

    February 18, 2010

Historical Examples of diptych

British Dictionary definitions for diptych



a pair of hinged wooden tablets with waxed surfaces for writing
a painting or carving on two panels, usually hinged like a book

Word Origin for diptych

C17: from Greek diptukhos folded together, from di 1 + ptukhos fold; compare triptych
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 diptych

1620s, from Latin diptycha (plural), from late Greek diptykha, neuter plural of diptykhos "double-folded, doubled," from dis- "two" + ptykhe "fold."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper