• synonyms


  1. 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.
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Origin of thaumatrope

First recorded in 1820–30; thauma(to)- + -trope
Related formsthau·ma·trop·i·cal [thaw-muh-trop-i-kuh l] /ˌθɔ məˈtrɒp ɪ kəl/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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


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

  • 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


  1. a toy in which partial pictures on the two sides of a card appear to merge when the card is twirled rapidly
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Derived Formsthaumatropical (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