Definition of tympan in English:


Line breaks: tym¦pan
Pronunciation: /ˈtɪmpən


  • 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.
    More 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.
    More example sentences
    • Of interest is the western portal of the vestry with twisted columns and tympans, arranged in a ledge.


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

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