Definition of diorama in English:



  • 1A model representing a scene with three-dimensional figures, either in miniature or as a large-scale museum exhibit.

    • ‘The scene looks like a series of dioramas in an old-fashioned museum.’
    • ‘The Meteor Crater of Arizona will be highly featured in the hall with a scale model in a diorama.’
    • ‘Behind the door is a three-dimensional construction, like a museum diorama.’
    • ‘There are also several halls that exhibit mining memorabilia, artifacts and pictures from the Ikuno mine, and a life-sized diorama exhibiting the steps involved in the refining of silver ores.’
    • ‘The real wild animals hunted by Roosevelt and others had to be killed before they could be reconstructed through taxidermy and exhibited in the dioramas of America's museums.’
    • ‘The history of the cigarette industry in Kudus is documented at the Museum Kretek in dioramas and various objects, such as old packs of Kudus-made cigarettes and the instruments used to produce the cigarettes.’
    • ‘To contribute to the three-dimensional quality of the diorama, the students add flowers and leaves by gluing small pieces of twisted and folded colored tissue paper to the background foliage.’
    • ‘Here's Deidre looking at a diorama, a model re-enactment of some kind of military engagement.’
    • ‘He highlights humans' obsession with the animal world and the way in which animals are viewed through more artificial means - zoos, museums, dioramas and old picture books.’
    • ‘The best photo subjects in museums are usually sculptures, dioramas (in natural-history museums), and overall room views.’
    • ‘Of the thousands of items in Kingston Museum, this diorama is one of my favourites.’
    • ‘The project has been so successful that Nigel now works full time creating more life size figures and more small figures to set in dioramas that extend the scope of the museum displays.’
    • ‘In addition to these and other monumental works of sculpture, Huff also created several sculptures and dioramas for the University of California Museum of Paleontology's exhibit at the Exposition.’
    • ‘There were some impressive statues and dioramas commemorating the lives of various military figures, who I guess are buried in the Cathedral.’
    • ‘Wellington artist Terry Urbahn's work perhaps fits most closely with the exhibition's premise, underscored by actual museum dioramas on show in an adjacent room.’
    • ‘She indicated the next room that held the models and dioramas.’
    • ‘Commercial images of wild animals and displays such as the Museum's dioramas tend to depict a timeless Eden, where humans are literally out of the picture.’
    • ‘The actors and the scenery, sometimes represented symbolically, speak loudly to a similar diorama of wooden figures also standing on a round base in the adjacent room.’
    • ‘Everything was static, like a museum diorama of a London street in some distant future.’
    • ‘Deller placed tiny video monitors playing re-enacted battles within three miniature historical dioramas, part of the museum's permanent collection.’
    pageant, tableau vivant, human representation, parade, scene
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1historical A scenic painting, viewed through a peephole, in which changes in colour and direction of illumination simulate changes in the weather, time of day, etc.
      • ‘Arguably illusionism was a taste diverted into the diorama, and thence ultimately into the cinema.’
      • ‘In 1845, for example, crowds flocked to a Parisian diorama devoted to simulating the experience of seeing St. Mark's in Venice.’
      • ‘Panoramas were soon overtaken by even more spectacular inventions, such as dioramas and cosmoramas, which explicitly exploited illusionistic effects.’
    2. 1.2 A miniature film set used for special effects or animation.


Early 19th century: coined in French from dia- ‘through’, on the pattern of panorama.