[ thaw-muh-trohp ]

  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.

Origin of thaumatrope

First recorded in 1820–30; thauma(to)- + -trope

Other words from thaumatrope

  • thau·ma·trop·i·cal [thaw-muh-trop-i-kuhl], /ˌθɔ məˈtrɒp ɪ kəl/, adjective

Words Nearby thaumatrope Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use thaumatrope in a sentence

  • These memories lie in confusion, unformed and undefined, like pictures in a thaumatrope.

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

    The Romance of Modern Invention | Archibald Williams
  • Why do the figures upon the "thaumatrope" appear to dance, when they are made to revolve before a mirror?

    The Reason Why | Anonymous

British Dictionary definitions for thaumatrope


/ (ˈθɔːməˌtrəʊp) /

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

Origin of thaumatrope

C19: from thaumato- + -trope

Derived forms of thaumatrope

  • thaumatropical (ˌθɔːməˈtrɒpɪkəl), adjective

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