Printable Version
Pronunciation: sai-klê--mê, -rah-mê Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A 360 panorama on a large cylindrical surface such that spectators can move about to view it. 2. A large piece of material forming an arc on a stage set forming the background of a scene.

Notes: A panorama is any wide, unbroken view of an area. A cyclorama is a breathtaking panorama that extends completely around visitors standing inside a cylindrical room. The adjective is cycloramic and the adverb, cycloramically.

In Play: The Gettysburg Cyclorama oil painting, along with light and sound effects, immerses visitors in the fury of Pickett's Charge during the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The Battle of Borodino between French and Russian forces is the scene depicted on a 360 canvas painted by Franz Roubaud, completed in 1912.

Word History: Today's Good Word consists of two constituents: cycl(e) + orama. Cycle was borrowed from Greek kyklos "circle, wheel" which came from PIE kwel-/kwol- "to revolve, circle around". This root came to English as wheel, via Old English hweol. English collar, something that encircles the neck, was borrowed from Old French colier, inherited from Latin collare "a band worn around the neck, collar". This word was derived from collum "neck", based on the O-grade of kwel-/kwol-. Bulgarian, Serbian and Romanian created kolo "round dance" from it. Orama was borrowed from Greek horama "spectacle, vision", the noun from horan "to look, see". It comes from PIE wer-/wor- "to perceive, watch out for", which also made its way to English as wary.

Dr. Goodword,

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