Word of the Day


audio pronunciation
March 02, 2015
: having a changeable luster or color with an undulating narrow band of white light
"Suddenly he felt himself again in Carthage. There was a river there, too: not a little bolt of chatoyant silk like the Avon, which they would have called a 'crick' back there." — Rupert Hughes, "Momma" And Other Unimportant People, 1920

"They had interesting rocks, everything from Texas Hill Country caliche and an agate found in a gravel parking lot to a trilobite fossil and slice of chatoyant tiger's eye from Colorado." — Tommy Simmons, The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA), September 2, 2010
Get the Word of the Day direct to your inbox — subscribe today!
Did You Know?
The complex structure of a cat's eye not only enables it to see at night but also gives it the appearance of glowing in the dark. Not surprisingly, jewels that sport a healthy luster are often compared with the feline ocular organ, so much that the term cat's-eye is used to refer to those gems (such as chalcedony) that give off iridescence from within. If you've brushed up on your French lately, you might notice that the French word for cat (chat) provides the first four letters of chatoyant, a word used by jewelers to describe such lustrous gems (and by others who see the same luster elsewhere). Chatoyant derives from the present participle of chatoyer, a French verb that literally means "to shine like a cat's eyes."

Test Your Vocabulary: Fill in the blanks to create an adjective that describes something that reflects an iridescent light: o _ _ le _ c _ nt. The answer is …
More Words of the Day
Visit our archives to see previous selections.
Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears