ir·​i·​des·​cence | \ ˌir-ə-ˈde-sᵊn(t)s How to pronounce iridescence (audio) \

Definition of iridescence

1 : a lustrous rainbowlike play of color caused by differential refraction of light waves (as from an oil slick, soap bubble, or fish scales) that tends to change as the angle of view changes
2 : a lustrous or attractive quality or effect

Examples of iridescence in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Often, the appearance of cloud iridescence is compared to oil films in water. Kathryn Prociv, Washington Post, "Extremely rare, colorful nighttime clouds shine over Arizona," 30 Mar. 2018 The next year will also see a battle to determine exactly how many cameras make a phone most appealing, while the current trend of adding gradients and iridescence under the rear glass is likely to escalate to new heights of expressiveness. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "2018 was a weird notch year — what’s next?," 18 Dec. 2018 The fashionistas of the 19th century prized iridescence in part because the uneven illumination from lamps and candles made the effect particularly compelling. Susan Delson, WSJ, "Fashion’s Glorification—and Devastation—of Nature," 20 Apr. 2018 The exhibition offers such examples as a Tiffany Peacock Vase (c. 1901) and a 19th-century Indian fabric woven with beetle wing casings for iridescence, as well as 21st-century Nike running shoes in fluorescent green. Judith H. Dobrzynski, WSJ, "‘Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color’ Review: Vibrant From Any Angle," 26 May 2018 Stern likes Kjaer Weis Highlighter in Radiance for cheeks because its creamy, luscious texture and faint iridescence, as well as Glossier Haloscope in Quartz for its easy-to-apply stick formula and wear-anywhere subtlety. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "How to Get Glowing Skin," 25 June 2018 Color’s mysterious properties, like iridescence, fluorescence and optical illusions, are still being explored and exploited. Judith H. Dobrzynski, WSJ, "‘Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color’ Review: Vibrant From Any Angle," 26 May 2018 Today, birds with iridescence, such as male birds of paradise, use their flashy colors to attract mates. Kristin Hugo, Newsweek, "Feathered Dinosaur Shimmered Like a Rainbow, Fossil Reveals," 15 Jan. 2018 The new Honor 10 exhibits the same design philosophy as the P20 Pro: ugly notch on the front, stunning blue-purple iridescence on the back. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "The Honor 10 is exactly the budget Huawei P20 Pro we were expecting," 15 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'iridescence.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of iridescence

1804, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for iridescence

irid(escent) + -escence

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The first known use of iridescence was in 1804

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ir·​i·​des·​cence | \ ˌir-ə-ˈde-sᵊns How to pronounce iridescence (audio) \

Kids Definition of iridescence

: a shifting and constant change of colors producing rainbow effects

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Nglish: Translation of iridescence for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about iridescence

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