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From Latin tympanum, from Ancient Greek τύμπανον (túmpanon), from τύπτω (túptō, I strike, I hit).


tympanum (plural tympanums or tympana)

  1. (architecture) A triangular space between the sides of a pediment.
  2. (architecture) The space within an arch, and above a lintel or a subordinate arch, spanning the opening below the arch.
    • 2005, Alan Hollinghurst, The Line of Beauty, Bloomsbury Publishing, paperback, page 9
      It was a black-and-white picture of a Romanesque doorway, with flanking saints and a lively Last Judgement in the tympanum [...].
  3. The middle ear.
  4. The eardrum.
  5. A hearing organ in frogs, toads and some insects.
  6. (engineering) A drum-shaped wheel with spirally curved partitions by which water is raised to the axis when the wheel revolves with the lower part of the circumference submerged; used for raising water, as for irrigation.




Borrowed from Ancient Greek τύμπανον (túmpanon), from τύπτω (túptō, I strike, beat).



tympanum n (genitive tympanī); second declension

  1. drum, timbrel, tambour, tambourine


Second declension.

Case Singular Plural
nominative tympanum tympana
genitive tympanī tympanōrum
dative tympanō tympanīs
accusative tympanum tympana
ablative tympanō tympanīs
vocative tympanum tympana



  • tympanum in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • tympanum in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • du Cange, Charles (1883), “tympanum”, in G. A. Louis Henschel, Pierre Carpentier, Léopold Favre, editors, Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (in Latin), Niort: L. Favre
  • tympanum” in Félix Gaffiot’s Dictionnaire Illustré Latin-Français, Hachette (1934)
  • tympanum in The Perseus Project (1999) Perseus Encyclopedia[1]
  • tympanum in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • tympanum in William Smith et al., editor (1890) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin