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

The backdrop is expansive gardens in full vernal splendor: 150 flowering cherry trees, alongside countless other flowers from daffodils to irises to 500,000 tulips. National Geographic, "Best places to see cherry blossoms in the U.S.," 1 Mar. 2019 The same iris recognition used in earlier Lumia phones will help log you in. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft launches HoloLens 2 with a strong business bent," 24 Feb. 2019 The lens is positioned behind the colored part of your eye, called the iris. Amir Khan, sun-sentinel.com, "Surgery to treat cataract can wait if vision hasn’t been affected yet," 6 June 2019 Map out the arch in your eyebrow: Angle your brow pencil from the side of the nose through the iris of your eye to your brow to find the midpoint, which should be the peak of your arch. Jessica Teich, Good Housekeeping, "How to Shape Your Eyebrows, According to a Brow Expert," 4 June 2019 The idealized figures are crisply carved in minute detail: delineated feathers on the eagle; muscles, bones, hair curls and toenails on the figures, and irises in the eyes of Augustus and others. Judith H. Dobrzynski, WSJ, "A Man Among Gods," 21 Sep. 2018 The five species known as Louisiana irises — four of them native to Louisiana — can hybridize with each other but not with any other species, Perilloux said. Janet Mcconnaughey, Fox News, "Petal power: Group works to preserve wild Louisiana irises," 10 May 2018 For the cameras, there's still a dual 12MP rear camera setup with one of them still having a dual aperture thanks to a mechanical iris. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Samsung makes the Galaxy Note9 official with big battery upgrade," 9 Aug. 2018 The aristocratic spritz dries down to a bouquet of tuberose, violet, iris, and Bulgarian rose. Roxanne Adamiyatt, Town & Country, "6 Royal-Worn Perfumes That Are Fit for Non-Princesses Too," 30 Mar. 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

8 Jul 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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