from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Having a changeable luster.
  • n. A chatoyant stone or gemstone, such as the cat's-eye.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Having a certain optical reflectance effect, which can be likened to the sheen of a spool of silk.
  • n. A hard stone, such as the cat's-eye, which presents on a polished surface, and in the interior, an undulating or wavy light.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having a changeable, varying luster, or color, like that of a changeable silk, or oa a cat's eye in the dark.
  • n. A hard stone, as the cat's-eye, which presents on a polished surface, and in the interior, an undulating or wary light.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Changing in luster or color, like a cat's eye in the dark.
  • n. A kind of hard stone or gem having when cut and polished a chatoyant luster; cat′ s-eye.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. varying in color when seen in different lights or from different angles


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

French, present participle of chatoyer, to shimmer like cats' eyes, from chat, cat, from Vulgar Latin *cattus, perhaps of African origin.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French chatoyant, present participle of chatoyer, from chat ("cat") (because of the reflective qualities of a cat's eye).


  • The varying colors and luster of the stones is called a chatoyant effect, and is due to internal microscopic hollow channels in the stone itself.

    Zolar’s Magick Of Color

  • Tigers Eye is what they call "chatoyant," - the so called cat's eye effect.

    Archive 2008-04-01

  • Another interesting variety of this blue sapphire is one known as "chatoyant"; this has a rapidly changing lustre, which seems to undulate between a green-yellow and a luminous blue, with a phosphorescent glow, or fire, something like that seen in the eyes of a cat in the dark, or the steady, burning glow observed when the cat is fascinating a bird -- hence its name.

    The Chemistry, Properties and Tests of Precious Stones

  • She saw Lucifer, along with the other white winged angels being cast from Heaven: a chatoyant harmony of colors reflected from their extraordinary falling movements until they eventually disappeared into a deep, dark void.

    Nell Shea

  • Either because they possessed a chatoyant quality of their own (as I had often suspected), or by reason of the light reflected through the open window, the green eyes gleamed upon me vividly like those of a giant cat.

    The Devil Doctor

  • She invariably wore gloves out of doors and a veil to conceal the chatoyant eyes.

    The Green Eyes of Bâst

  • There was a river there too; not a little bolt of chatoyant silk like the Avon, which they would have called a "crick" back there.

    The Best Short Stories of 1920 and the Yearbook of the American Short Story

  • He shook himself free and stood straight, his jaws hard and his eyes, absorbing what light there was from the stars, chatoyant.

    A Splendid Hazard

  • Her luxuriant hair, which lay in careless masses about the shapely head and intelligent brow, was a mixture of red and brown and gold, a variety which never ceases to charm; skin the pallor of ancient marble, with the shadow of rose lying below the eyes, the large, gray chatoyant eyes, which answered every impulse of the brain which ruled them.

    The Puppet Crown

  • As Beryl pushed open the iron door, and held up the lantern, that its brightness might stream into the cell, where even at five o'clock in the afternoon of a rainy day darkness reigned, the rays flashed back from the glowing eyes chatoyant as a cougar's.

    At the Mercy of Tiberius


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  • Let us not overlook the mineralogic/gemology use of the term chatoyant, nor its origin in Fr. chat - cat:

    (n): cat's eye

    1. Any of various semiprecious gems such as chrysoberyl, BeAl2O4, reflecting a band of light that shifts position as the gem is turned.

    2. A glass or plastic reflector designed to glow in the beam of a headlight, used on a vehicle as a safety device or set in rows along a highway as lane markers.

    3. A marble having an eye-like design, such as concentric circles or a colored center set in clear glass.

    January 1, 2009

  • A sort of toned-down version of coruscate.

    August 17, 2007

  • I like this word as it relates to fabric.

    April 26, 2007