Definition of tympan in English:



  • 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.

    ‘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.’
    • ‘Please use the chase dimension only when ordering tympan for your ‘platen’ press.’
    • ‘In this photo I am folding an edge of the tympan paper over to place over the bottom platen.’
  • 2Architecture

    another term for tympanum

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



/ˈtimpən/ /ˈtɪmpən/


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