[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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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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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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Encyclopedia Britannica


three-dimensional exhibit, frequently housed in a cubicle and viewed through an aperture. It usually consists of a flat or curved back cloth on which a scenic painting or photograph is mounted. Flat or solid objects are placed in front of the back cloth, and coloured transparent gauze or plastic drop curtains are used to heighten the three-dimensional effect. A considerable improvement in perspective is achieved by the addition of stage borders or wings. The rigorous application of the laws of perspective is essential to the success of the exhibit. The skillful use of lighting also heightens the effect

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The diorama was a glimpse into a blue-sky world, whose tiny inhabitants hunted
  colored eggs or enjoyed a springtime picnic.
Tell students they will draw or make a diorama about one aspect of the
After collecting the necessary items, the quest concludes inside this diorama.
As the lights in the diorama rise and fade, this carved face undergoes a series
  of astounding transformations of form and feeling.
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