\ ˈī-rəs How to pronounce iris (audio) \
plural irises also irides\ ˈī-​rə-​ˌdēz How to pronounce irides (audio) , ˈir-​ə-​ \

Definition of iris

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : 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
2 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
\ ˈī-rəs How to pronounce Iris (audio) \

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 2

In the meaning defined above

Examples of iris in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For the Xbox One X, intricate computer chips and glowing circuit boards metastasize into the lines of a human iris. Cecilia D'anastasio, Wired, "Xbox Has Always Chased Power. That's Not Enough Anymore," 5 Oct. 2020 Place a 5mm diameter beam of light in front of your 4mm pupil and the extra 1mm rim just bounces off your iris. Ron Spomer, Outdoor Life, "The Truth About Riflescope Brightness (And How to Pick the Best Hunting Scope for Low Light)," 7 Apr. 2020 Other blooming perennials include the many selections of lantana, salvia, four-o-clock, esperanza, thyrallis, poinciana and iris. Calvin Finch, ExpressNews.com, "Calvin Finch: Deer-proof plant suggestions for your San Antonio garden," 7 May 2020 Also show me the subtlest curve of a smile, or a flash of exasperation or joy or anguish reflected in a giant, projected iris. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Of Course People Are Streaming Movies Right Now—That Doesn’t Mean It’s the New Normal," 29 Apr. 2020 Bearded and Siberian irises in purple and blue grow among the masses of peonies in Kris Jurik's garden. Johanna Silver, Better Homes & Gardens, "More Than 1,000 Peonies Fill This Colorful Midwestern Garden," 8 Apr. 2020 Another fabulous grass, Eragrostis spectabilis, was paired with Iris prismatica, a native bog iris that isn’t much seen in commerce. Adrian Higgins, Washington Post, "It’s time to plan the new season’s garden, and it pays to be picky," 11 Mar. 2020 Cuttlefish have camera-type eyes, which have a cornea, lens, iris and retina. Ryan Prior, CNN, "Scientists put 3D glasses on cuttlefish and showed them film clips. The results were surprising," 9 Jan. 2020 In the mountains, the iris are always first to bloom, the bracken ferns the last to poke through the forest floor, now imminent. Tom Stienstra, SFChronicle.com, "Hiking alone during coronavirus pandemic and shelter in place," 12 Apr. 2020

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 3

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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Time Traveler for iris

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for iris

Last Updated

11 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Iris.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/iris. Accessed 27 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for iris

iris

noun
How to pronounce Iris (audio)

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 How to pronounce iris (audio) \

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 How to pronounce iris (audio) \
plural irises or irides\ ˈī-​rə-​ˌdēz How to pronounce irides (audio) , ˈir-​ə-​ How to pronounce irides (audio) \

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

Nglish: Translation of iris for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of iris for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about iris

Comments on iris

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