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 Sticking CDs and DVDs in the freezer produced frost and water droplets that magnified the iridescence beneath. Laura Mallonee, Wired, "The Psychedelic Beauty of Destroyed CDs," 18 Dec. 2019 There was an unusual luster to his fur, a silvery iridescence. David Canfield,, "Exclusive preview: Grace Lin fashions a gorgeous original Mulan novel," 24 Oct. 2019 For just a touch of iridescence, try a swipe of Nars Multi-Use Gloss in white gold Star Babe over the lips, or tap Milk's Holographic Highlighting Powder on the highs of the cheekbones. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "7 Glitter Makeup Products That Will Sparkle Bright Into the Holiday Season," 10 Oct. 2019 Thursday afternoon, underneath the Pont Alexandre III — specifically in the stone caverns below the bridge — Martens’s models wore trousers and matching jackets with the shimmering iridescence of an insect’s wing. Robin Givhan, Washington Post, "Designer Rick Owens took on immigration, border walls and his own history. And it looked spectacular.," 27 Sep. 2019 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

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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Time Traveler for iridescence

Time Traveler

The first known use of iridescence was in 1804

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Statistics for iridescence

Last Updated

30 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Iridescence.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 January 2020.

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More Definitions for iridescence


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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Spanish Central: Translation of iridescence

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

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