Iridescent is an adjective that means lustrous and pearly, giving off a brilliant sheen like an oil slick or, well, a pearl.

Iridescent came to be in 1796, when some enthusiastic word maker took the Latin word iris, which means "rainbow," and morphed it into an English word that describes anything giving off a luminous, rainbow sheen or that changes color in the light. It's a great descriptive word — if you can resist the urge to spell it with an extra "r."

Definitions of iridescent
  1. adjective
    varying in color when seen in different lights or from different angles
    “a dragonfly hovered, vibrating and iridescent
    synonyms: changeable, chatoyant, shot
    colorful, colourful
    having striking color
  2. adjective
    having a play of lustrous rainbow colors
    “an iridescent oil slick”
    synonyms: nacreous, opalescent, opaline, pearlescent
    emitting or reflecting light readily or in large amounts
Word Family