[tim-puh n]
  1. Printing. a padlike device interposed between the platen or its equivalent and the sheet to be printed, in order to soften and equalize the pressure.
  2. tympanum(defs 2, 4).

Origin of tympan

before 900; Middle English: drum, Old English < Latin tympanum tympanum
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for tympan

Historical Examples of tympan

  • While this was being done, the other man was placing the sheet of paper on the "tympan."

  • Nothing remained now but to adjust the guides which would hold the cards on the tympan.

    The Adventures of Bobby Orde

    Stewart Edward White

  • These sheets are held in place by means of the iron clamps which slip over the ends of the tympan (see Fig. 160).

    The Boy Craftsman

    A. Neely Hall

  • In the cut at the head of this article, the pressman is represented as in the act of turning down the frisket upon the tympan.

  • The bed traveled on guide ways, and the tympan and frisket were hinged to fold back and lay in elevated position.

British Dictionary definitions for tympan


  1. a membrane stretched over a frame or resonating cylinder, bowl, etc
  2. printing packing interposed on a hand-operated text between the platen and the paper to be printed in order to provide an even impression
  3. architect another name for tympanum (def. 3)

Word Origin for tympan

Old English timpana, from Latin; see tympanum
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