Word of the Day

Saturday, July 27, 2002

diaphanous

\dy-AF-uh-nuhs\ , adjective;
1.
Of such fine texture as to allow light to pass through; translucent or transparent.
2.
Vague; insubstantial.
Quotes:
The curtains are thin, a diaphanous membrane that can't quite contain the light outside.
-- Eric Liu, The Accidental Asian
She needed more than diaphanous hope, more than I could give her.
-- Tej Rae, "One Hand Extended", Washington Post, August 12, 2001
This phantom wore many faces, but it always had golden hair, was enveloped in a diaphanous cloud, and floated airily before his mind's eye in a pleasing chaos of roses, peacocks, white ponies, and blue ribbons.
-- Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
Origin:
Diaphanous ultimately derives from Greek diaphanes, "showing through," from diaphainein, "to show through, to be transparent," from dia-, "through" + phainein, "to show, to appear." It is related to phantom, something apparently sensed but having no physical reality.
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