[ tim-puh-nuhm ]
/ ˈtɪm pə nəm /
Save This Word!

noun, plural tym·pa·nums, tym·pa·na [tim-puh-nuh]. /ˈtɪm pə nə/.
Anatomy, Zoology.
  1. middle ear.
  2. tympanic membrane.
  1. the recessed, usually triangular space enclosed between the horizontal and sloping cornices of a pediment, often decorated with sculpture.
  2. a similar space between an arch and the horizontal head of a door or window below.
Electricity. the diaphragm of a telephone.
a drum or similar instrument.
the stretched membrane forming a drumhead.
Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?

Origin of tympanum

1610–20; <Latin <Greek týmpanon drum, akin to týptein to beat, strike
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use tympanum in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for tympanum

/ (ˈtɪmpənəm) /

noun plural -nums or -na (-nə)
  1. the cavity of the middle ear
  2. another name for tympanic membrane
any diaphragm resembling that in the middle ear in function
Also called: tympan architect
  1. the recessed space bounded by the cornices of a pediment, esp one that is triangular in shape and ornamented
  2. the recessed space bounded by an arch and the lintel of a doorway or window below it
music a tympan or drum
a scoop wheel for raising water

Word Origin for tympanum

C17: from Latin, from Greek tumpanon drum; related to Greek tuptein to beat
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

Medical definitions for tympanum


n. pl. tym•pa•nums
middle ear
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.