• synonyms


[trans-loo-suhnt, tranz-]
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  1. permitting light to pass through but diffusing it so that persons, objects, etc., on the opposite side are not clearly visible: Frosted window glass is translucent but not transparent.
  2. easily understandable; lucid: a translucent explication.
  3. clear; transparent: translucent seawater.
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Origin of translucent

1590–1600; < Latin trānslūcent- (stem of trānslūcēns), present participle of trānslūcere to shine through. See trans-, lucent
Related formstrans·lu·cence, trans·lu·cen·cy, nountrans·lu·cent·ly, adverbsub·trans·lu·cence, nounsub·trans·lu·cen·cy, nounsub·trans·lu·cent, adjective
Can be confusedtranslucent transparent (see synonym study at transparent)


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1. See transparent.


1. opaque.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for translucency

Historical Examples

  • And for the translucency of their yellower effects we must bring in the amber.

    The Heart of Nature

    Francis Younghusband

  • This translucency affects the luster and brightness of lumber.

    Seasoning of Wood

    Joseph B. Wagner

  • The former constitutes the body of the piece, the latter gives it its translucency.

    The Ceramic Art

    Jennie J. Young

  • This translucency of atmosphere is very common in Southern Africa.

  • On exposure to light much of the translucency and brilliancy is lost.

British Dictionary definitions for translucency


  1. allowing light to pass through partially or diffusely; semitransparent
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Derived Formstranslucence or translucency, nountranslucently, adverb

Word Origin

C16: from Latin translūcēre to shine through, from trans- + lūcēre to shine
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 translucency



1590s, from Latin translucentem (nominative translucens), present participle of translucere "to shine through," from trans- "through" (see trans-) + lucere "to shine" (see light (n.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

translucency in Science


  1. Allowing radiation (most commonly light) to pass through, but causing diffusion. Frosted glass, for example, is translucent to visible light. Compare transparent.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.