/tim"peuh neuhm/, n., pl. tympanums, tympana /-neuh/.
1. Anat., Zool.
a. See middle ear.
2. Archit.
a. the recessed, usually triangular space enclosed between the horizontal and sloping cornices of a pediment, often decorated with sculpture.
b. a similar space between an arch and the horizontal head of a door or window below.
3. Elect. the diaphragm of a telephone.
4. a drum or similar instrument.
5. the stretched membrane forming a drumhead.
[1610-20; < L < Gk týmpanon drum, akin to týptein to beat, strike]

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 in Classical architecture, the area enclosed by a pediment, whether triangular or segmental. In a triangular pediment, the area is defined by the horizontal cornice along the bottom and by the raking (sloping) cornice along the sides; in a segmental pediment, the sides have segmental cornices. A pediment often contains sculpture, as at the Parthenon.

      In Romanesque (ancient Rome) architecture, the tympanum constitutes the area between the lintel over a doorway and the arch above. During the 11th and 12th centuries in Europe, tympana over church portals were decorated with intricate and stylized relief sculpture.

 A particularly popular subject for tympanum decoration was the Last Judgment. Typically, the figure of Christ appears in the centre of the composition, dominant in size and usually enclosed in a mandorla (an oval, nimbus-like form). At his right and left are the four Evangelists, sometimes represented or accompanied by their animal symbols. To the sides, smaller figures of angels and demons weigh sins of the resurrected dead, who are ranked along the lowest and smallest section of the tympanum, directly above the lintel. Fine examples of Romanesque tympana may be seen at the abbey church of Saint-Pierre at Moissac, France, and at the cathedral of Saint-Lazare at Autun.

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Universalium. 2010.

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(of the ear)

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Tympanum — or timpanum or thympanon (Latin form) or tympanon (Greek form) may mean: * In biology, tympanum ndash; Eardrums * In classical architecture, tympanum is an architectural element located within the arch or Pediment * In music, timpano ndash;… …   Wikipedia

  • tympanum — drum of the ear, 1610s, from M.L. tympanum, introduced in this sense by Italian anatomist Gabriello Fallopio (1523 1562), from L. tympanum drum, from Gk. tympanon a drum, panel of a door, from root of typtein to beat, strike (see TYPE (Cf. type)… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Tympanum — Tym pa*num, n.; pl. E. {Tympanums}, L. {Tympana}. [L., a kettledrum, a drum or wheel in machines, the triangular area in a pediment, the panel of a door, Gr. ?, ?, fr. ? to strike, beat. See {Type}, and cf. {Timbrel}.] 1. (Anat.) (a) The ear drum …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Tympănum — (v. gr.), 1) eine dem Tambourin ähnliche Handtrommel, Handpauke, mit hohlem, halbrund gewölbtem Bauch; bes. brauchte man das T. bei dem Dienst der Kybele (s. Tympanismos) u. bei Einweihungen in die Mysterien; 2) so v.w. Pauke; 3) (Anat.),… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Tympanum — Tympănum (grch.), Handpauke; im Kirchenbau das mit Reliefs oder Mosaiken geschmückte Bogenfeld über dem Portal; auch das Trommelfell; ferner eine Art Schöpfrad (s.d.) …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Tympanum — Tympanum, die alterthümliche Handpauke; beckenförmige Vertiefung in einer Wand zur Aufnahme eines Standbildes etc.; das Trommelfell …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Tympanum — ⇒ Trommelfell …   Deutsch wörterbuch der biologie

  • tympanum — ► NOUN (pl. tympanums or tympana) 1) Anatomy & Zoology the eardrum. 2) Architecture a vertical recessed triangular space forming the centre of a pediment or over a door. DERIVATIVES tympanic adjective. ORIGIN Greek tumpanon drum …   English terms dictionary

  • tympanum — [tim′pə nəm] n. pl. tympanums or tympana [tim′pənə] [L: see TYMPAN] 1. Anat. a) MIDDLE EAR b) TYMPANIC MEMBRANE 2. Zool …   English World dictionary

  • TYMPANUM — I. TYMPANUM a τύπτω, i. e. percutio, quale fuerit, antiqua numismata indicant, in quorum aversa parte Cybele Mater Deûm Tympanum in sinu gerit, vel eidem innititur. Ex im ie descripsit Plinius de margaritis agens, l. 9. c. 35. Quibus una tantum… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

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