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[ir-i-des-uh ns] /ˌɪr ɪˈdɛs əns/
iridescent quality; a play of lustrous, changing colors.
1795-1805; irid- + -escence
Related forms
noniridescence, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for iridescence
  • Until now, the wing colors of many flies and wasps were dismissed as random iridescence.
  • Color in clouds other than at sunset or sunrise is usually cloud iridescence.
  • That's because the colors are caused not by pigment but by iridescence.
  • Inside, the lining has changed from pearly iridescence to smooth, gray stone.
  • All the objects have a patina, a film of iridescence.
  • Puffy-appearing head with multicolored iridescence and fan-shaped white patch.
  • The body plumage and wings have a violet iridescence in strong light.
  • The throat can be light green and the abdomen white or greenish-white, occasionally with a blue or gold iridescence.
  • Usually, the blue iridescence is confined to two rows of coverts and is restricted to the proximal half of the immature wing.
  • The iridescence of the plumage causes the birds to appear different shades of color depending on the angle of light.
Word Origin and History for iridescence

1804, from iridescent + -ence. Related: Iridescency (1799).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for iridescence

interference of light either at the surface or in the interior of a material that produces a series of colours as the angle of incidence changes. Best known are the colours seen in precious opal resulting from the interference of light by submicroscopic layers of nearly spherical particles 1,500-3,000 angstroms in diameter that are arranged in a regular pattern. Common opal lacks this layering, and scattered light merely gives a milky opalescence. Internal iridescence is due to closely spaced fractures or lamellae such as planes of differing composition caused by exsolution. Most familiar are the colours of labradorite and peristerite resulting from lamellae about 1,000 angstroms thick. Surface iridescence occurs on some ore minerals (e.g., hematite and sphalerite).

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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