[ oh-puh-les-uhnt ]
See synonyms for: opalescentopalescence on Thesaurus.com

  1. exhibiting a play of colors like that of the opal.

  2. having a milky iridescence.

Origin of opalescent

First recorded in 1805–15; opal + -escent

Other words from opalescent

  • o·pal·es·cence, noun
  • o·pal·es·cent·ly, adverb

Words Nearby opalescent

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use opalescent in a sentence

  • We mounted to the upper deck, under the open sky, with its opalescent tints and shifting clouds to the west.

    The Wasted Generation | Owen Johnson
  • First, silvery threads of light began to weave along the bristling ridges of the east and opalescent flecks to glimmer overhead.

    The Code of the Mountains | Charles Neville Buck
  • Two Venetian glass vases on the mantel gave out an opalescent gleam in the twilight.

  • When a great quantity of gelatin is present the filtrate will be opalescent instead of perfectly clear.

British Dictionary definitions for opalescent


/ (ˌəʊpəˈlɛsənt) /

  1. having or emitting an iridescence like that of an opal

Derived forms of opalescent

  • opalescence, noun

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

Scientific definitions for opalescent


[ ō′pə-lĕsənt ]

  1. Exhibiting a milky iridescence like that of opal.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.