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From Late Latin diptycha, plural, from Ancient Greek, neuter plural of δίπτυχος ‎(díptukhos, folded, doubled), from δι ‎(di) + -πτυχος ‎(-ptukhos) (akin to Greek πτυχή ‎(ptychí, fold, layer)).


diptych ‎(plural diptychs)

  1. A writing tablet consisting of two leaves of rigid material connected by hinges and shutting together so as to protect the writing within.
  2. (art) A picture or series of pictures painted on two tablets, usually connected by hinges.
  3. A double catalogue, containing in one part the names of living, and in the other of deceased, ecclesiastics and benefactors of the church.
  4. A catalogue of saints.
  5. Artistically-wrought tablets distributed by consuls, etc. of the later Roman Empire to commemorate their tenure of office; hence transferred to a list of magistrates
  6. a. a literary work consisting of two contrasting parts (as a narrative telling the same story from two opposing points of view) "a diptych, a pastoral in which the author narrates the birth of Christ ... first as it has impressed the rich countryman Asveer, then as it has been seen by the skeptic Nicodemus" -- François Closset b. any work made up of two matching parts treating complementary or contrasting pictorial phases of one general topic "the first volume of a diptych Vegetation and Flora of the Sonoran Desert" -- F.E. Egler


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