[oh-puh-les-uh nt]


exhibiting a play of colors like that of the opal.
having a milky iridescence.

Origin of opalescent

First recorded in 1805–15; opal + -escent
Related formso·pal·es·cence, nouno·pal·es·cent·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for opalescent

bright, iridescent, pearly, polychromatic, opaline

Examples from the Web for opalescent

Contemporary Examples of opalescent

Historical Examples of opalescent

British Dictionary definitions for opalescent



having or emitting an iridescence like that of an opal
Derived Formsopalescence, 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

Word Origin and History for opalescent

1813, from opal + -escent.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

opalescent in Medicine




Resembling an opal in the display of various colors, often used to describe certain bacterial cultures.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

opalescent in Science



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.