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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 translucent
  • The fish itself is flaky and a slightly translucent white in color.
  • When closed, the door provides visual privacy, but its translucent panel helps keep an open feel.
  • Here, a glossy chocolate-brown accent wall sets off the translucent candleholders and simple white candles.
  • Made of either translucent or opaque plastic, many have oversize openings with screw-on lids.
  • These two bins were made of a flimsier plastic and are translucent.
  • Saute onion, jalapeno pepper, and garlic in olive oil until translucent.
  • Far above, the triangle is aglow in the dimly translucent field of ice.
  • Refrigerators in the laboratories held hundreds of brightly colored translucent petri dishes in which cell cultures were growing.
  • He gesticulates with his fingers, which are long-boned and nearly translucent with age.
  • The translucent forms represent the left half of the brain.
British Dictionary definitions for translucent


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 translucent

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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translucent 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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