AskDefine | Define iris

Dictionary Definition



1 plants with sword-shaped leaves and erect stalks bearing bright-colored flowers composed of three petals and three drooping sepals [syn: flag, fleur-de-lis, sword lily]
2 muscular diaphragm that controls the size of the pupil; it forms the colored portion of the eye
3 diaphragm consisting of thin overlapping plates that can be adjusted to change the diameter of a central opening [syn: iris diaphragm] [also: irides (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary

see Iris



From Middle English, from Latin, from Greek (iris), rainbow.


  • , /aɪrɪs/, /aIrIs/


(See Usage notes)
  1. A plant of the genus Iris, common in the northern hemisphere, and generally having attractive blooms.
  2. A rainbow, or other colourful refraction of light.
  3. The contractile membrane perforated by the pupil, which adjusts to control the amount of light reaching the retina, and which forms the colored portion of the eye.
  4. (photography, cinematography) A diaphragm used to regulate the size of a hole, especially as a way of controlling the amount of light reaching a lens.


part of the eye

Usage notes

For the part of the eye, the usual medical plural is irides. For the flower both iris and irises are in common use.


plural iris
plural irides
plural irises


Verb form

  1. went





  1. to slice



iris or




  1. iris

Derived terms

Extensive Definition

Iris may refer to:
  • Iris (mythology), a messenger of the gods in Greek mythology, identified with the rainbow
    • Iridescence, an optical phenomenon, name derived from the mythological figure
  • Iris (color), an ambiguous color, ranging from blue-violet to violet

In science and technology

In biology

  • Iris (anatomy), the sphincter around the pupil of the eye, named after the colors in human and animal eyes
  • Iris (plant), a genus of flowering plants, named after the rainbow
  • Iris (insect), a genus of insects of the praying mantis family, in the subfamily Mantinae

In astronomy


In the arts and popular culture

  • Irises (painting), a painting of iris flowers by Vincent Van Gogh
  • Iris printer, a true color injet printer used for industrial prepress proofs and fine art printing.
  • Iris (film), a film about Irish novelist Iris Murdoch
  • Iris (game), an game created to promote the video game Halo 3
  • Iris magazine, a Dutch comic magazine
  • Iris, a fictional queen in Piers Anthony's Xanth novels
  • Iris (Mega Man), a fictional character in the video game Mega Man X4
  • Iris, a pre-teen prostitute played by Jodie Foster in the 1976 film Taxi Driver

In music

Musical artists


In transportation

  • HMS Iris, Six historical warships of the British Royal Navy
  • USS Iris, any of several ships in the US Navy that have been named after the mythological figure
  • The Abraham Iris, a touring plane built in France before World War II

Other uses

See also

  • IRIS (disambiguation)
iris in Bulgarian: Ирис
iris in Catalan: Iris
iris in Danish: Iris
iris in German: Iris
iris in Modern Greek (1453-): Ίρις
iris in Spanish: Iris (desambiguación)
iris in French: Iris
iris in Galician: Iris
iris in Croatian: Iris
iris in Icelandic: Íris
iris in Italian: Iris
iris in Luxembourgish: Iris
iris in Hungarian: Írisz
iris in Dutch: Iris
iris in Japanese: Iris
iris in Norwegian: Iris
iris in Norwegian Nynorsk: Iris (fleirtyding)
iris in Polish: Iris
iris in Portuguese: Íris (desambiguação)
iris in Romanian: Iris (dezambiguizare)
iris in Russian: Ирис
iris in Finnish: Iris
iris in Swedish: Iris

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Dalmatian, antigorite, baby blues, band, banjo eyes, bar, bespangle, bespeckle, bespot, blotch, bright eyes, butterfly, candy cane, chameleon, check, checker, cheetah, chrysotile, clear eyes, confetti, cornea, crazy quilt, dapple, dot, eye, eyeball, eyelid, firedog, flake, fleck, freckle, goggle eyes, harlequin, iridesce, iridize, jaguar, lens, leopard, lid, mackerel, mackerel sky, maculate, marble, marbled paper, marbleize, moire, mother-of-pearl, motley, mottle, nacre, naked eye, nictitating membrane, ocelot, oculus, opal, opalesce, ophite, optic, optic nerve, orb, organ of vision, patchwork quilt, peacock, peeper, pepper, polychrome, polychromize, popeyes, pupil, rainbow, retina, saucer eyes, sclera, serpentine, serpentine marble, shot silk, spangle, speck, speckle, spectrum, splotch, spot, sprinkle, starry orbs, stigmatize, stipple, streak, striate, stripe, stud, tattoo, tessellate, tortoise shell, unaided eye, variegate, vein, visual organ, zebra
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