[ir-i-des-uh nt]


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

First recorded in 1790–1800; irid- + -escent
Related formsir·i·des·cent·ly, adverbnon·ir·i·des·cent, adjectivenon·ir·i·des·cent·ly, adverbun·ir·i·des·cent, adjectiveun·ir·i·des·cent·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for iridescent

Contemporary Examples of iridescent

Historical Examples of iridescent

  • Celerity, valor, endurance, they were his iridescent neck and tail feathers.

    The Cavalier

    George Washington Cable

  • Have you noticed the iridescent sparkle when the wind ripples the blades?

  • She no longer saw it through the iridescent haze of excited fancy.

    The Faith Doctor

    Edward Eggleston

  • But the starving out business I have always said was an "iridescent" dream.

  • It was as beautiful and iridescent as the Staubbach, and as impalpable.

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 Formsiridescence, nouniridescently, adverb

Word Origin for iridescent

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

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