Definition of tympan in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtimpən/


1(In letterpress printing) a layer of packing, typically of paper, placed between the platen and the paper to be printed to equalize the pressure over the whole forme.
Example sentences
  • The pressman pulled on the bar, causing the platen to press the tympan on the inked type and taking the impression.
  • Jacques Derrida, in the preface to Margins of Philosophy, identifies the printing press-specifically, the ‘tympan’ as the agent of division.
  • One last point, however: when the card is removed the original image on the tympan sheet will be exposed.
2 Architecture another term for tympanum.
Example sentences
  • Of interest is the western portal of the vestry with twisted columns and tympans, arranged in a ledge.


Late 16th century (sense 1): from French tympan or Latin tympanum (see tympanum). sense 2 dates from the early 18th century.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: tym·pan

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