ka·​lei·​do·​scope | \kə-ˈlī-də-ˌskōp \

Definition of kaleidoscope 

1 : an instrument containing loose bits of colored material (such as glass or plastic) between two flat plates and two plane mirrors so placed that changes of position of the bits of material are reflected in an endless variety of patterns

2 : something resembling a kaleidoscope: such as

a : a variegated changing pattern or scene a kaleidoscope of colors

b : a succession of changing phases or actions a kaleidoscope of changing fashions

c : a diverse collection

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Other Words from kaleidoscope

kaleidoscopic \kə-​ˌlī-​də-​ˈskä-​pik \ adjective
kaleidoscopically \kə-​ˌlī-​də-​ˈskä-​pi-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

Examples of kaleidoscope in a Sentence

The landscape was a kaleidoscope of changing colors.

Recent Examples on the Web

In this land of hard and fast kitchen etiquette, where towering toques once ruled, the food landscape is a kaleidoscope of quality dining experiences at all levels. Condé Nast Traveler, "24 Best Restaurants in Paris," 4 Mar. 2018 Photographers like Richard John Seymour have captured the colorful stalls of the giant market, many of which sell just one item, like rubber duckies or plastic flowers, in a kaleidoscope of colors and styles. Sophie Weiner, Popular Mechanics, "The Chinese City That Exports All Your Plastic Crap," 18 Sep. 2016 On Monday, southern Australia was treated to a rare celestial wonder:a kaleidoscope of color in the skies due to Aurora Australis, otherwise known as the Southern Lights. Diana Bruk, Country Living, "Australia Experienced the Most Stunning Southern Lights On Monday Night," 29 Mar. 2017 His commissions are for large-scale, immersive environments like the original SoundStair at Boston’s Museum of Science, a kaleidoscope color corridor at Miami International Airport, and a New York subway sound array. Cindy Atoji Keene, BostonGlobe.com, "Art ‘eats at me all day long’," 29 June 2018 Near dawn and dusk, refracted sunlight filtered through the stratus can create a kaleidoscope of color for a few minutes and add to the phenomenon. Tom Stienstra, SFChronicle.com, "’Tis the season for ‘Dancing with Fog’," 12 July 2018 Holding in the great profusion of nature is complex geometry, unfolding like the symmetries of a kaleidoscope. Glenn Dixon, Smithsonian, "The Age-Old Tradition of Armenian Carpet Making Refuses to Be Swept Under the Rug," 6 July 2018 That smacked of panic, of Sampaoli–or whoever was picking the side, for Messi and Javier Mascherano have, at the very least, consulted with their coach–shaking his kaleidoscope and seeing where the pieces fell. Jonathan Wilson, SI.com, "From Elimination to Elation: Argentina Somehow Staves Off Early World Cup Exit," 26 June 2018 What keeps this kaleidoscope from bouncing your eye right out of the house? Lisa Cregan, House Beautiful, "Kristin Kong on Decorating a Young Family's Elegant House," 2 Mar. 2015

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

1817, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for kaleidoscope

Greek kalos beautiful + eidos form + English -scope — more at idyll

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Statistics for kaleidoscope

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for kaleidoscope

The first known use of kaleidoscope was in 1817

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More Definitions for kaleidoscope



English Language Learners Definition of kaleidoscope

: a tube that has mirrors and loose pieces of colored glass or plastic inside at one end so that you see many different patterns when you turn the tube while looking in through the other end

: a changing pattern or scene

: a mixture of many different things


ka·​lei·​do·​scope | \kə-ˈlī-də-skōp \

Kids Definition of kaleidoscope

1 : a tube that contains bits of colored glass or plastic and two mirrors at one end and that shows many different patterns as it is turned

2 : a changing pattern or scene

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What made you want to look up kaleidoscope? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


having a pattern of small flowers

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