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[ir-i-des-uh nt] /ˌɪr ɪˈdɛs ənt/
displaying a play of lustrous colors like those of the rainbow.
an iridescent cloth, material, or other substance:
new fall dresses of imported iridescents.
Origin of iridescent
1790-1800; irid- + -escent
Related forms
iridescently, adverb
noniridescent, adjective
noniridescently, adverb
uniridescent, adjective
uniridescently, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for iridescent
  • Its iridescent rings are not those of a rainbow but of a different and more subtle effect called a glory.
  • One can't help exclaiming in awe, since the colored bone is as delicate and lacily beautiful as a dragonfly's iridescent wing.
  • As the sky turns iridescent green with the setting sun, a silvery trill fills the air.
  • At night, panther eyes appear to glow from moonlight reflected off an iridescent membrane in the retina.
  • Some ferns turn an iridescent blue, in a strategy evolved for absorbing more light.
  • Herds of iridescent parrotfish darted through forests of branching corals.
  • Feathers on birds today come in a huge range of colors and patterns, with iridescent sheens and brilliant streaks and splashes.
  • There are even species that are iridescent and some with a truly unnatural-looking metallic sheen.
  • They are winged jewels, fluttering orbs of iridescent feathers.
  • Strongly iridescent, with a bright blue or purplish blue sheen on the head, while the body is greenish.
British Dictionary definitions for iridescent


displaying a spectrum of colours that shimmer and change due to interference and scattering as the observer's position changes
Derived Forms
iridescence, noun
iridescently, adverb
Word Origin
C18: from irido- + -escent
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for iridescent

1796, literally "rainbow-colored," coined from comb. form of Latin iris (genitive iridis) "rainbow" (see iris). Related: Iridescently.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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