ir·​i·​des·​cent | \ ˌir-ə-ˈde-sᵊnt How to pronounce iridescent (audio) \

Definition of iridescent

: having or exhibiting iridescence

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Other Words from iridescent

iridescently adverb

Synonyms for iridescent


nacreous, opalescent, pearlescent

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Did You Know?

Iris, the Greek goddess of the rainbow, took messages from Mount Olympus to earth, and from gods to mortals or other gods, using the rainbow as her stairway. Iridescence is thus the glowing, shifting, colorful quality of a rainbow, also seen in an opal, a light oil slick, a butterfly wing, or the mother-of-pearl that lines an oyster shell.

Examples of iridescent in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

This fall shoes will be taking center stage with new, iridescent styles. Jasmine Snow, Seventeen, "Fashion Trends," 25 June 2013 The vibe was carefree and fun with the only sign of the dreaded winter being the cozy fire, which served mainly to illuminate the beautiful acrylic handbags of gleaming tortoise shell and iridescent ivory and bronze. Mai Morsch, Vogue, "Edie Parker Hosted a Colorful Cocktail Party That Made Guests Forget All About the New York Slush," 13 Feb. 2019 Speaking of rainbow, iridescent electroplated flatware is the antidote to a boring tablescape (and this 12-piece set is $42 at Urban Outfitters). Asad Syrkett, Curbed, "The best spring home goods," 1 May 2018 Designers created iterations of the utilitarian sandals with platforms (like Anna Sui above) and iridescent straps. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "7 Shoe Trends of 2019 You're Going to Want to Pay Attention To," 7 Jan. 2019 After debuting green hair and collaborating with M.A.C. on an iridescent eye shadow, Dua Lipa has moved on to elevating our cat-eye game, and shared a selfie of her wings. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Dua Lipa Shared an Instagram of Her Dramatic Cat Eye," 12 Nov. 2018 Looking like the high fashion version of a modern-day Cinderella, the actress's custom Chanel gown was made of silk tulle, iridescent beads, and strands of feathers. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Penelope Cruz's Chanel Couture Gown Took Nearly 300 Hours to Embroider," 18 Sep. 2018 Male passenger pigeons were particularly colorful, with red breasts, feet and legs and iridescent pink patches that glistened on the sides of their throats. Amy Dockser Marcus, WSJ, "Meet the Scientists Bringing Extinct Species Back From the Dead," 9 Oct. 2018 Topping off the already ornately detailed gown was a bodice adorned with 8,000 pieces including white and iridescent blue organza flowers, beads, and feathers. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Penelope Cruz's Chanel Couture Gown Took Nearly 300 Hours to Embroider," 18 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'iridescent.' 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 iridescent

1796, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for iridescent

Greek īrid-, îris "rainbow, iridescent halo around the moon, a flame, etc." + -escent — more at iris entry 1

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Statistics for iridescent

Last Updated

12 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for iridescent

The first known use of iridescent was in 1796

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More Definitions for iridescent



English Language Learners Definition of iridescent

: shining with many different colors when seen from different angles


ir·​i·​des·​cent | \ ˌir-ə-ˈde-sᵊnt How to pronounce iridescent (audio) \

Kids Definition of iridescent

: having iridescence


ir·​i·​des·​cent | \ ˌir-ə-ˈdes-ᵊnt How to pronounce iridescent (audio) \

Medical Definition of iridescent

: having or exhibiting a display of colors producing rainbow effects

Other Words from iridescent

iridescence \ -​ᵊn(t)s How to pronounce iridescence (audio) \ noun

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