diptych

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diptych an ancient writing tablet consisting of two hinged leaves with waxed inner sides for writing on with a stylus; the word is recorded in English in this sense from the early 17th century.

Diptychs in the early Church were tablets recording a list of the living and the dead who were prayed for at the Eucharist; the word also denoted the names themselves, and the intercessions in the course of which they were introduced.

From the early 19th century, diptych has been used for a painting, especially an altarpiece, on two hinged wooden panels which may be closed like a book.

The word comes via late Latin from late Greek diptukha ‘pair of writing tablets’, from Greek diphtukhos ‘folded in two’.

diptych

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dip·tych / ˈdiptik/ • n. 1. a painting, esp. an altarpiece, on two hinged wooden panels that may be closed like a book. 2. an ancient writing tablet consisting of two hinged leaves with waxed inner sides.

diptych

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diptych two-leaved hinged tablet for writing. XVII. — late L. diptycha — late Gr. díptukha, n. pl. of díptukhos double-folded, f. DI- 2 + ptukhḗ fold.

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