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


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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 While debuting a new silver 'do, Jorja Smith unveiled a matching sparkly metallic manicure, while Parker Kit Hill rocked winged liner and an iridescent manicure of her own by nail artist Mei Kawajiri. Akili King, Vogue, "The Best Beauty Instagrams of the Week: Jessica Wu, Laverne Cox, and More," 4 Apr. 2021 Chai-wallahs stand in clumps, pouring out steaming cups of tea for skiers taking a break in the iridescent sunshine. New York Times, "Skiing in Himalayas Is ‘Like a Beautiful Dream,’ Despite Conflict and Coronavirus," 27 Mar. 2021 As the decades marched along, so did Ms. McClintock’s styles, from pale Victorians and Great Gatsby-esque satins in the 1970s to poofy silk taffeta in the ’80s to more streamlined dresses in iridescent silk in the ’90s and beyond. New York Times, "Jessica McClintock, 90, Dies; Dressed Generations in Lace and Satin," 23 Mar. 2021 An iridescent sky meets the brushstrokes of a pink-blue sea; the sunset is streaked yellow, lavender, cerulean and verdigris. The Economist, "For Claude Monet, familiarity bred respect," 19 Mar. 2021 The throat and face feathers are iridescent—depending on the viewing angle, the plumage might flash brilliant or mundane hues. Leslie Nemo, Scientific American, "Hummingbirds’ Iridescent Feathers Are Still a Bit of a Mystery," 8 Mar. 2021 The Riverwalk will be closed for the day, and city officials are calling on people who happen on the scene to snap a quick selfie with the iridescent shamrock water in the background, then move along. Chicago Tribune Staff,, "Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening this weekend with COVID-19 in the Chicago area," 13 Mar. 2021 Here, the Wed designers contrast their bulky lace with iridescent paillettes, adding in tassels that nod to 17th century paintings. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Wed Studios Imagines a Deathly Beautiful Fall 2021 Wardrobe," 10 Mar. 2021 In this species, called Anna’s hummingbird (Calypte anna), only males have an iridescent face and neck. Leslie Nemo, Scientific American, "Hummingbirds’ Iridescent Feathers Are Still a Bit of a Mystery," 8 Mar. 2021

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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Time Traveler for iridescent

Time Traveler

The first known use of iridescent was in 1796

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Statistics for iridescent

Last Updated

9 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Iridescent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

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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 iridescent (audio) \ noun

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