[ trip-tik ]
/ ˈtrɪp tɪk /


Fine Arts. a set of three panels or compartments side by side, bearing pictures, carvings, or the like.
a hinged, three-leaved tablet, written on, in ancient times, with a stylus.

Origin of triptych

1725–35; < Greek tríptychos of three plates, equivalent to tri- tri- + ptych- (stem of ptýx) plate + -os adj. suffix Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for triptych

British Dictionary definitions for triptych


/ (ˈtrɪptɪk) /


a set of three pictures or panels, usually hinged so that the two wing panels fold over the larger central one: often used as an altarpiece
a set of three hinged writing tablets

Word Origin for triptych

C18: from Greek triptukhos, from tri- + ptux plate; compare diptych
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 triptych



1731, "hinged, three-leaved writing tablet used in ancient Greece and Rome," from Greek triptykhos "three-layered," from tri- "three" (see tri-) + ptykhos, genitive of ptyx "fold, layer." In reference to three-part altar-piece carvings or pictures hinged together, it is attested from 1849.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper