dye-AF-uh-nuss, adj. It means sheer, gauzy, fine, and translucent. As in, ‘the diaphanous forewing of an insect,” or “sunlight filtered through the diaphanous curtain.”
When I first met this word, I was in a vocabulary class. It captivated me! Just the word itself sounded light, delicate, and ephemeral.
However, it is on the long side of things. In an attempt to shorten it, I toyed with naming our upcoming collection ‘diaphany’ instead — presumably the noun form of ‘diaphanous’, and rather more manageable! I was really excited about that until I realized ‘diaphany’ wasn’t a word. (If you spell it with an ‘o’ you get “diaphony,” which is a musical term meaning two parts sounding simultaneously; like two people singing an unaccompanied duet.)
As it tuns out, the real noun form of ‘diaphanous’ is even longer: ‘diaphanousness’! If you thought the adjective was a mouthful….
…well, let’s just stick with the adjective!
–with thanks to dictionary.com for some of the finer points of the definition