- Anatomy, Zoology.
- the recessed, usually triangular space enclosed between the horizontal and sloping cornices of a pediment, often decorated with sculpture.
- 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.
Origin of tympanum
Examples from the Web for tympanum
It consists of a tympanum or drum, having a stylus attached as in the phonograph.Heroes of the Telegraph
The tympanum is filled with stones arranged in zig-zag patterns.
The tympanum of the large arch is pierced with a quatrefoil or trefoil.
Imagine such an establishment domesticated at one's tympanum!The Caxtons, Complete
In the tympanum are good reliefs and a well-cut Adoration of the Magi.Cathedral Cities of Spain
William Wiehe Collins
- the cavity of the middle ear
- another name for tympanic membrane
- any diaphragm resembling that in the middle ear in function
- Also called: tympan architect
- the recessed space bounded by the cornices of a pediment, esp one that is triangular in shape and ornamented
- 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 and History for tympanum
"drum of the ear," 1610s, from Medieval Latin tympanum, introduced in this sense by Italian anatomist Gabriello Fallopio (1523-1562), from Latin tympanum "drum," from Greek tympanon "a drum, panel of a door," from root of typtein "to beat, strike" (see type (n.)). Cf. Old English timpan "drum, timbrel, tambourine," from Latin tympanum. The modern meaning "a drum" is attested in English from 1670s.