ir·i·des·cent | \ˌir-ə-ˈde-sᵊnt \

Definition of iridescent 

: having or exhibiting iridescence

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from iridescent

iridescently adverb

Synonyms for iridescent


nacreous, opalescent

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Fantasy Land Nail Polish, an enchanting iridescent color that is sure to dazzle your digits. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What July's Leo Horoscope Means for You," 29 June 2018 Her winning image shows the 1 micron ridges connected by cross ribs on a butterfly wing which produce a brilliant iridescent color that never fades. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Breathtaking Bubbles, Butterfly Wings, and a Glowing Atom Take Top Prizes in Science Photo Contest," 14 Feb. 2018 In practical terms, this means that Winston goes for the glitz by devoting all his promotional skills to Elastigirl, with her iridescent suit and endlessly extensible limbs. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Incredibles 2’ Review: Settling for Less," 14 June 2018 As Charles stood up, unfolding his lanky frame — sheathed in a slightly iridescent emerald-green suit — and leaned down to pick up his brown leather handbag, the woman rushed over. Jenna Wortham, New York Times, "Is ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ the Most Radical Show on TV?," 24 Jan. 2018 Sephora Collection MicroSmooth Baked Eyeshadow Trio Courtesy of Brands Sephora Collection MicroSmooth Baked Eyeshadow Trio in Sunray, $11 BUY IT Though not technically a palette, this trio of iridescent baked eyeshadows is basically fool-proof. Chloe Metzger, Marie Claire, "Calling All Brown-Eyed People: These 5 Eyeshadow Palettes Were Made for You," 2 Nov. 2017 The one shade of Mega Glo Loose Highlighting Powder, Written in the Stars, contains iridescent pearls that are perfect for building up a glow on both face and body. Marci Robin, Allure, "Wet n Wild Is Launching a Super-Shimmery Zodiac Makeup Collection," 12 July 2018 Add a neon effect with white eyeliner to get that iridescent glow. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "10 Insanely Cool Halloween Makeup Looks for When You Need a Last-Minute Costume," 30 June 2018 Shield bugs are also known as jewel bugs for their iridescent colors, like the cotton harlequin and the rainbow shield bug. National Geographic, "Meet the Bug That Armors Itself With Shells," 23 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about iridescent

Share iridescent

Statistics for iridescent

Last Updated

24 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for iridescent

The first known use of iridescent was in 1796

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

Kids Definition of iridescent

: having iridescence


ir·i·des·cent | \ˌir-ə-ˈdes-ᵊnt \

Medical Definition of iridescent 

: having or exhibiting a display of colors producing rainbow effects

Other Words from iridescent

iridescence \-ᵊn(t)s \ noun

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on iridescent

What made you want to look up iridescent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!