elsabet has looked up 0 words, created 3 lists, listed 17 words, written 12 comments, added 0 tags, and loved 5 words.

Comments by elsabet

  • From the OED:

    (n). A subjective sensation of light produced by mechanical stimulation of the retina (as by pressure on the eyeball) or by electrical stimulation of various parts of the visual pathway.

    1967 New Yorker 23 Dec. 32/2
    "Now with your knuckles rub your eyelids, seeing
    The phosphenes caper like St. Elmo's fire."

    September 22, 2007

  • From the OED:

    (a.) Resembling an opal in colour or iridescence; opalescent.

    1891 J. W. LINTON Catoninetales 43
    What strange reflections doth he make? How opalesque his eyes!

    June 29, 2007

  • From the OED:

    (n.) The quality of being opalescent; the display of various colours as in precious opal; milky iridescence. Also: an instance or appearance of this.

    1954 S. WALLACE Coll. Poems v. 102
    The wind
    Of green blooms turning crisped the motley hue
    To clearing opalescence.


    June 29, 2007

  • From the OED:

    (v. intr.)
    To exhibit iridescence like that of precious opal. Also fig.

    1870 J. SMITH Chris & Otho 16
    You do opalesce with every passing moment. You are red, fiery--green, jealous--yellow, suspicious.

    June 29, 2007

  • From the OED:

    (n.) Iridescence resembling that of nacre.

    1931 Observer 27 Sept. 10
    Nacreosity is a pearly iridescence.

    June 29, 2007

  • From the OED:

    (n.) A cell which refracts light to cause iridescence, found in the skin of fishes, cephalopods, and certain other animals.

    1893 CUNNINGHAM & MACMUNN in Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B. CLXXXIV. 767
    The chief features of the iridocytes are their regularity of outline, and their great reflecting power.

    June 28, 2007

  • From the OED:

    (a.) Resembling the neck or tail of a peacock in colouring or iridescence.

    1991 R. CONDON Final Addiction 211
    He was put down on a beach which overlooked a pavonine sea on which slumped the guilty tanker, Bergquist, impaled on its villainous reef.

    June 28, 2007

  • From the OED:

    1896 KIPLING Seven Seas, Three Sealers 68
    And they saw the sun-dogs in the haze and the seal upon the shore.

    June 28, 2007

  • From the OED:

    (a.) Having the colours of the rainbow; coloured by a rainbow.

    1880 Scribner's Mag. July 347
    Bathing from time to time in waftings of irised spray.

    June 28, 2007

  • Related words from the OED:

    iridesce (v. intr.)
    To exhibit iridescence; to shine in an iridescent manner.

    1905 J. LONDON Jacket (1915) 48
    Sun-flashed water where coral-growths iridesced from profounds of turquoise deeps.

    iridescent (a.)
    Displaying colours like those of the rainbow, or those reflected from soap-bubbles and the like; glittering or flashing with colours which change according to the position from which they are viewed.

    1879 G. ALLEN Colour-Sense i. 5
    We do not owe to the colour-sense the existence in nature of the rainbow, the sunset, or the other effects of iridescent light.

    1873 BLACKIE Self-Cult. (1874) 84
    The best fictions, without a deep moral significance beneath, are only iridescent froth.

    iridian (a.)
    Rainbow-like; brilliantly coloured.

    1888 A. UPWARD Songs in Ziklag 146 Consistency ii,
    Truth's iridian arch.

    iridical (a.)
    Brilliant with rainbow colours.

    1862 S. LUCAS Secularia 100
    The iridical window and the flaming shrine.

    iridine (a.)
    Rainbow-like; iridescent.

    1851 S. JUDD Margaret I. xiv. (Ward & Lock) 110
    The horned-pout, with its pearly iridine breast and iron-brown back.

    iridize (v. trans.)
    To make iridescent.

    iridization (n.)
    The action or process of showing prismatic colours as in the rainbow; irisation.

    1884 Pop. Sci. Monthly June 288
    M. Cornu lately described to the French Academy of Sciences a white rainbow...This rainbow was wholly white, without even as much iridization as is noticeable in halos, and had a fleecy appearance.

    June 28, 2007

  • From the OED:

    (n.) An imperfect rainbow, believed to be a presage of storm.

    Related words:

    (n.) watergall
    1594 SHAKES. Lucr. 1588
    And round about her teare-distained eye
    Blew circles stream'd, like Rain-bows in the skie.
    These watergalls in her dim Element,
    Foretell new stormes.


    (n.) windgall
    1823 J. F. COOPER Pilot I. ii. 19
    There be streaked wind-galls in the offing, that speak...plainly...to shorten sail.

    June 28, 2007

  • From the OED:

    (n.) Applied by the poets to things that show or suggest interweaving of colours, or embroidery, esp. to the prismatic colouring of the rainbow. But used by some modern writers in sense of 'colouring, dye', apparently from misunderstanding their predecessors.

    1869 LOWELL Seaweed iv,
    The same wave that rims the Carib shore
    With momentary brede of pearl and gold.

    June 28, 2007

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