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

  • adj. Exhibiting a milky iridescence like that of an opal.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Exhibiting a milky iridescence like that of an opal.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Reflecting a milky or pearly light from the interior; having an opaline play of colors.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Having variegated and changing colors like those of the opal.
  • Milky.

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

  • adj. having a play of lustrous rainbow colors


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From opal +‎ -escent. First attested in 1813.



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  • "It brightened; the sky turned to a glowing pink which I strove, glueing my eyes to the window, to see more clearly, for I felt that it was related somehow to the most intimate life of Nature, but, the course of the line altering, the train turned, the morning scene gave place in the frame of the window to a nocturnal village, its roofs still blue with moonlight, its pond encrusted with the opalescent sheen of night, beneath a firmament still spangled with all its stars, and I was lamenting the loss of my strip of pink sky when I caught sight of it anew, but red this time, in the opposite window which it left at a second bend in the line; so that I spent my time running from one window to the other to reassemble, to collect on a single canvas the intermittent, antipodean fragments of my fine, scarlet, ever-changing morning, and to obtain a comprehensive view and a continuous picture of it."

    -- Within a Budding Grove by Marcel Proust, translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, Revised by D.J. Enright, p 317 of the Modern Library paperback edition

    April 26, 2008