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[trip-tik] /ˈtrɪp tɪk/
Fine Arts. a set of three panels or compartments side by side, bearing pictures, carvings, or the like.
a hinged, three-leaved tablet, written on, in ancient times, with a stylus.
Origin of triptych
1725-35; < Greek tríptychos of three plates, equivalent to tri- tri- + ptych- (stem of ptýx) plate + -os adj. suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for triptych
  • She had this map in her hands, which was a triptych map from the automobile club.
  • Intended to form a grand triptych, the three paintings are seen together for the first time in this exhibition.
  • As a culminating activity, have students create a triptych about what they have learned in this unit.
  • It is an allegorical, complicated triptych with hundreds of details and with curious unclothed people.
British Dictionary definitions for triptych


a set of three pictures or panels, usually hinged so that the two wing panels fold over the larger central one: often used as an altarpiece
a set of three hinged writing tablets
Word Origin
C18: from Greek triptukhos, from tri- + ptux plate; compare diptych
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for triptych

1731, "hinged, three-leaved writing tablet used in ancient Greece and Rome," from Greek triptykhos "three-layered," from tri- "three" (see tri-) + ptykhos, genitive of ptyx "fold, layer." In reference to three-part altar-piece carvings or pictures hinged together, it is attested from 1849.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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