1. Sufficiently thin or airy as to be translucent: a diaphanous gown; diaphanous gauze.
2. Of such fine composition as to be easily damaged or broken; delicate: diaphanous butterfly wings.
[From Medieval Latin diaphanus, transparent, from Greek diaphanēs, from diaphainein, to be transparent : dia-, dia- + phainein, phan-, to show; see bhā-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
di′a·pha·nei·ty (dī′ə-fə-nēĭ-tē), di·apha·nous·ness n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendicies
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.