ir·​i·​des·​cent | \ˌir-ə-ˈde-sᵊnt \

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

Each shade is softly iridescent, rather than gaudy glittery, and also silky-sheer, meaning even the palest of skin tones can swipe on the deep berry hue without looking like a clown. Chloe Metzger, Marie Claire, "The 5 Truly Excellent Beauty Products I'm Loving This Week," 24 Oct. 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," 4 July 2018 Bags of pigment Squid, cuttlefish, and octopodes get their shifting iridescent colors in a bit more complicated fashion. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "“Rainbow” weevil could hold the secret to generating nature’s colors in the lab," 23 Sep. 2018 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

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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Last Updated

3 Dec 2018

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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 \

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

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