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[trans-loo-suh nt, tranz-] /trænsˈlu sənt, trænz-/
permitting light to pass through but diffusing it so that persons, objects, etc., on the opposite side are not clearly visible:
Frosted window glass is translucent but not transparent.
easily understandable; lucid:
a translucent explication.
clear; transparent:
translucent seawater.
Origin of translucent
1590-1600; < Latin trānslūcent- (stem of trānslūcēns), present participle of trānslūcere to shine through. See trans-, lucent
Related forms
translucence, translucency, noun
translucently, adverb
subtranslucence, noun
subtranslucency, noun
subtranslucent, adjective
Can be confused
translucent, transparent (see synonym study at transparent)
1. See transparent.
1. opaque. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for translucence
  • The translucence doesn't harm the goldfish or shorten its life span, he added.
  • The translucence of the paint film allows for sophisticated ranges of flesh tones.
  • As she thinned and fined, her skin glowed with the translucence of a wax candle.
  • Most of these cases have livers and spleens with a tan-to-green translucence due to amyloid deposits.
British Dictionary definitions for translucence


allowing light to pass through partially or diffusely; semitransparent
Derived Forms
translucence, translucency, noun
translucently, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin translūcēre to shine through, from trans- + lūcēre to shine
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
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Word Origin and History for translucence

early 15c., from Medieval Latin translucentia, from Latin translucentem (see translucenct).



1590s, from Latin translucentem (nominative translucens), present participle of translucere "to shine through," from trans- "through" (see trans-) + lucere "to shine" (see light (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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translucence in Science
Allowing radiation (most commonly light) to pass through, but causing diffusion. Frosted glass, for example, is translucent to visible light. Compare transparent.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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