Meaning of polyptych in English:


Pronunciation /ˈpɒlɪptɪk/


  • A painting, typically an altarpiece, consisting of more than three leaves or panels joined by hinges or folds.

    ‘Some consist of a single panel; others are diptychs or polyptychs in which the panels abut or hang a few inches apart.’
    • ‘Surviving panels by him include parts of a Passion polyptych, recalling his frescoes in S. Francesco, Assisi.’
    • ‘Earlier images of this type took the form of polyptychs, composed of a central panel that featured the Virgin and Child with separate, framed panels attached on either side that bore images of saints.’
    • ‘But Crivelli's work, limited to Madonnas and elaborate gilded polyptychs, rather than the less remunerative work in fresco, reveals little sense of stylistic development.’
    • ‘Masaccio himself painted a small version of Peter's crucifixion for the predella of the Pisa polyptych, where squat pyramids, hardly taller than the figures, take up considerable space at both edges of the panel.’


Mid 19th century from late Latin polyptycha (neuter plural) ‘registers’, from Greek poluptukhos ‘having many folds’, from polu- ‘many’ + ptukhē ‘fold’.