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

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 Later in life, Shirleyann tended to the cathedral's courtyard garden, where many of her hostas and iris can be seen and enjoyed by all today. Hartford Courant, courant.com, "Shirleyann McDonald," 19 June 2018 Their identity cards are scanned, photographs and fingerprints of them are taken, newly installed iris-recognition technology peers into their eyes. The Economist, "China has turned Xinjiang into a police state like no other," 31 May 2018 The potential penalty stems from a federal lawsuit filed in Illinois in 2015 that alleges the social media giant violated a state law protecting residents’ biometric information, such as data from facial, fingerprint and iris scans. Ally Marotti, chicagotribune.com, "Facebook could be forced to pay billions of dollars over alleged violations of Illinois biometrics law," 17 Apr. 2018 The muddy brown of his irises seemed to compress his pupils into slits. Chicago Tribune, chicagotribune.com, "Algren Award runner-up: "Lizard Lover" by Christine Vines," 2 June 2018 And while most cases of eyelid hyperpigmentation will reverse over time after discontinuing the product, the same can’t be said for your irises. Katie Heaney, The Cut, "Do Lash Growth Serums Actually Work?," 2 May 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

irids

Irigoyen

Iris

iris

irisated

irisation

iris borer

Statistics for iris

Last Updated

30 Sep 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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