[dahy-uh-ram-uh, -rah-muh]
a scene, often in miniature, reproduced in three dimensions by placing objects, figures, etc., in front of a painted background.
a life-size display representing a scene from nature, a historical event, or the like, using stuffed wildlife, wax figures, real objects, etc., in front of a painted or photographed background.
a spectacular picture, partly translucent, for exhibition through an aperture, made more realistic by various illuminating devices.
a building or room, often circular, for exhibiting such a scene or picture, especially as a continuous unit along or against the walls.

1815–25; < French, equivalent to di- di-3 + Greek (h)órāma view (horā-, variant stem of horân to see, look + -ma noun suffix denoting the result of action)

dioramic, adjective
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World English Dictionary
diorama (ˌdaɪəˈrɑːmə)
1.  a miniature three-dimensional scene, in which models of figures are seen against a background
2.  a picture made up of illuminated translucent curtains, viewed through an aperture
3.  a museum display, as of an animal, of a specimen in its natural setting
4.  films a scene produced by the rearrangement of lighting effects
[C19: from French, from Greek dia- through + Greek horama view, from horan to see]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1823 as a type of picture-viewing device, from Fr. (1822), from Gk. di- "through" + orama "that which is seen, a sight." Invented by Daguerre and Bouton, first exhibited in London Sept. 29, 1823. Meaning "small-scale replica of a scene, etc." is from 1902.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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