1. a scene, often in miniature, reproduced in three dimensions by placing objects, figures, etc., in front of a painted background.
  2. a life-size display representing a scene from nature, a historical event, or the like, using stuffed wildlife, wax figures, real objects, etc., in front of a painted or photographed background.
  3. a spectacular picture, partly translucent, for exhibition through an aperture, made more realistic by various illuminating devices.
  4. a building or room, often circular, for exhibiting such a scene or picture, especially as a continuous unit along or against the walls.


  1. a miniature three-dimensional scene, in which models of figures are seen against a background
  2. a picture made up of illuminated translucent curtains, viewed through an aperture
  3. a museum display, as of an animal, of a specimen in its natural setting
  4. films a scene produced by the rearrangement of lighting effects

1823 as a type of picture-viewing device, from French diorama (1822), from Greek di- “through” (see dia-) + orama “that which is seen, a sight” (see panorama). Meaning “small-scale replica of a scene, etc.” is from 1902.

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