Word of the Day Archive
Thursday January 6, 2011
1. Having changeable lustre; twinkling.
2. (Of a gem, esp a cabochon) displaying a band of light reflected off inclusions of other minerals.
Chatoyant is that kind of white which the eye of a cat assumes in the dark: The translator observes, truly, that there is no English word for it; the idea is that of a semi-transparent whiteness.
-- M. de Foucroy. Tobias George Smollett -, "Elements of Natural History, and of Chemistry," The Critical Review, Or, Annals of Literature: Volume 63 - Page 169
Its chatoyant, iridescent colors suggest the fancy that it might have had its birth in the crystallization of some magnificent aurora.
-- R.G. Taber, "An Outing in Labrador," Outing: sport, adventure, travel, fiction, Volume 27, 1896
Chatoyant's poetic origin lies in the French chatoyer, "to gleam like a cat's eyes," from the French chat, "cat."