iris

noun (1)
\ ˈī-rəs \
plural irises also irides\ ˈī-​rə-​ˌdēz , ˈir-​ə-​ \

Definition of iris

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : rainbow
2a : the opaque contractile diaphragm perforated by the pupil and forming the colored portion of the eye — see eye illustration
b : iris diaphragm also : a similar device with a circular opening that can be varied in size
3 also plural iris : any of a large genus (Iris of the family Iridaceae, the iris family) of perennial herbaceous plants with linear usually basal leaves and large showy flowers

iris

verb
irised; irising; irises

Definition of iris (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

: to make iridescent

Iris

noun (2)
\ ˈī-rəs \

Definition of Iris (Entry 3 of 3)

: the Greek goddess of the rainbow and a messenger of the gods

Illustration of iris

Illustration of iris

Noun (1)

iris 3

In the meaning defined above

Examples of iris in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Out there, honeysuckle branches hang over the driveway and yellow irises bloom by the sidewalk. Beth Thames, AL.com, "No, I'm not a robot, and what kind of question is that?," 25 Apr. 2018 From the moment the film opens with an old-fashioned iris in, writer-director Sam Voutas’ affection for Hollywood films is clear. Kimber Myers, latimes.com, "Review: Charming Chinese comedy 'King of Peking' has an infectious love for cinema," 5 July 2018 Rain gardens look lovely, planted with blooming irises and other thirsty plants. Susan Langenhennig, NOLA.com, "5 simple things homeowners can do to fight flooding and improve drainage," 10 Jan. 2018 Traditional physical biometrics, like fingerprints or irises, require special scanning hardware for authentication. Stacy Cowley, The Seattle Times, "Banks and retailers are tracking how you type, swipe and tap while browsing online," 13 Aug. 2018 The Tuscan iris grows wild on the hills of Florence, particularly in Giardino dell’Iris, alongside Pizzale Michelangelo. Ahnna Lee, Vogue, "Tour the Romantic Florentine Gardens That Inspire Artisanal Perfume," 23 July 2018 No cost to enter park to attend iris sale in Garden House. Elaine Rewolinski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A listing of home and garden events for the Milwaukee area (Summer 2018 edition)," 4 July 2018 The iris biometric technology detects more than 250 identifiers in each eye. Faith E. Pinho, Indianapolis Star, "Marion County Jail embraces iris-scanning technology for inmates," 25 June 2018 For a brief moment, the fragrances of blackcurrant, tuberose, heliotrope and iris mingled with the smoky notes of Indonesian wood or Greek figs would wash over me. Aleksandra Crapanzano, WSJ, "The Untold Story Behind Paris’s Most Charming Boutique," 21 June 2018

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

Noun (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1816, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for iris

Noun (1)

Middle English, "iris of the eye, the plant Iris germanica," borrowed from Latin īrid-, īris "rainbow, the plant Iris pallida or related species," borrowed from Greek īrid-, îris "rainbow, iridescent halo around the moon, a flame, etc., iris of the eye, the plant Iris pallida or related species," going back to *wīrid-, *wīris, of uncertain origin

Note: Traditionally, Greek îris "rainbow" (for which an original digamma [letter representing the sound w] is assured by an inscription from Corinth and the metrics of epic poetry) has been regarded as a derivative of Indo-European *u̯ei̯H- "plait, wrap," parallel to Germanic *wīr- (see wire entry 1). However, the variant éris recorded by the Greek lexicographer Hesychius, as well as the dubious character of *wīrid- as an Indo-European formation (< *u̯ih1-r-i-?) has drawn this etymology into question. Perhaps a substratal word.

Noun (2)

Latin, from Greek

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Dictionary Entries near iris

iridosmium

irids

Irigoyen

iris

Iris

irisated

irisation

Statistics for iris

Last Updated

23 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for iris

The first known use of iris was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for iris

iris

noun

English Language Learners Definition of iris

: the colored part of your eye

: a plant with long pointed leaves and large blue or yellow flowers

iris

noun
\ ˈī-rəs \

Kids Definition of iris

1 : the colored part around the pupil of an eye
2 : a plant with long pointed leaves and large usually brightly colored flowers

iris

noun
\ ˈī-rəs \
plural irises or irides\ ˈī-​rə-​ˌdēz , ˈir-​ə-​ \

Medical Definition of iris

1 : the opaque muscular contractile diaphragm that is suspended in the aqueous humor in front of the lens of the eye, is perforated by the pupil and is continuous peripherally with the ciliary body, has a deeply pigmented posterior surface which excludes the entrance of light except through the pupil and a colored anterior surface which determines the color of the eyes

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More from Merriam-Webster on iris

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with iris

Spanish Central: Translation of iris

Nglish: Translation of iris for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of iris for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about iris

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