iris

noun (1)
\ 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)

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 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 3

In the meaning defined above

Examples of iris in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Melanin, meanwhile, is the pigment that colors the hair, feathers, skin, and irises of animals. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Learned How to Reconstruct Long-Extinct Animals," 20 Aug. 2019 This latest version of the scent reportedly features top notes of lavender and bergamot, middle notes of jasmine, iris, and rose, and base notes of vanilla, sandalwood, coumarin, benzoin, licorice, and patchouli. Marci Robin, Allure, "Nearly All of Angelina Jolie's Tattoos Are Visible in Her New Guerlain Perfume Ad," 4 Aug. 2019 Biometrics, such as fingerprints, iris scans and facial recognition to identify ourselves are other potential alternatives to Social Security numbers. Kaya Yurieff, CNN, "Capital One hack exposed thousands of Social Security numbers. Why are we still using them as ID?," 30 July 2019 Question for Dan Gill: My Louisiana irises are just about finished blooming. Dan Gill, nola.com, "Wait to transplant Louisiana irises until late summer," 14 Apr. 2019 Eight miles of grassy tundra and wild iris separate St. Michael and Stebbins. Author: Kyle Hopkins, Anchorage Daily News, "For two brothers, two traumas and no justice," 26 July 2019 Eight miles of grassy tundra and wild iris separate St. Michael and Stebbins. Kyle Hopkins, ProPublica, "Clergy Abused an Entire Generation in This Village. With New Traumas, Justice Remains Elusive.," 26 July 2019 The fragrance contains top notes of green cardamom and iris along with a clean, woody, spicy and smoky base. Tara Paniogue, latimes.com, "Stylish life hacks for new parents," 11 July 2019 He was born with aniridia (absence of the iris) and eventually lost all of his sight in 2014. Staff Report, Houston Chronicle, "UHD named as one of ‘20 Best Online Programs for Adults Going Back to School’," 14 June 2019

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

2 Sep 2019

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 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

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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