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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Iris \I"ris\, n.; pl. E. Irises, L. Irides. [L. iris, iridis, the goddess, Gr. ?, ?, the rainbow, iris of the eye, the plant Iris. Cf. Orris.]

  1. (Class. Myth.) The goddess of the rainbow, and swift-footed messenger of the gods.

  2. The rainbow.
    --Sir T. Browne.

  3. An appearance resembling the rainbow; a prismatic play of colors.

  4. (Anat.) The contractile membrane perforated by the pupil, and forming the colored portion of the eye. See Eye.

  5. (Bot.) A genus of plants having showy flowers and bulbous or tuberous roots, of which the flower-de-luce (fleur-de-lis), orris, and other species of flag are examples. See Illust. of Flower-de-luce.

  6. (Her.) See Fleur-de-lis, 2.

  7. (Zo["o]l.) the inner circle of an oscillated color spot.

  8. same as iris diaphragm.


n. (plural of iris nodot=1 English) when referring to multiple blossoms. ('''Iris''' is multiple for multiple plants.)

Irises (painting)

Irises is one of many paintings and prints of irises by the Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh. Irises was painted while Vincent van Gogh was living at the asylum at Saint Paul-de-Mausole in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France, in the last year before his death in 1890.

It was painted before his first attack at the asylum. There is a lack of the high tension which is seen in his later works. He called the painting "the lightning conductor for my illness" because he felt that he could keep himself from going insane by continuing to paint.

The painting was influenced by Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints like many of his works and those by other artists of the time. The similarities occur with strong outlines, unusual angles, including close-up views, and also flattish local colour (not modelled according to the fall of light).

He considered this painting a study which is probably why there are no known drawings for it, although Theo, Van Gogh's brother, thought better of it and quickly submitted it to the annual exhibition of the Société des Artistes Indépendants in September 1889, together with Starry Night Over the Rhone. He wrote to Vincent of the exhibition: "[It] strikes the eye from afar. The Irises are a beautiful study full of air and life."

Usage examples of "irises".

The red striations in those dark irises brightened, sending a shiver down her spine.

The color of his irises, though, was a distinctly nonhuman and very demonic red, complete with slit pupils.

Tess glanced at the bed of irises beyond the bay window, hoping she could find time in her busy day for a walk through the garden to enjoy the glorious riot of color surrounding her.

They were surrounded by clumps of shorter Dreaming Yellow Siberian irises the color of rich cream.

Specially made for Iris House, it was decorated with hand-painted irises the color of ripe raspberries.

Tess was not familiar enough with all the names of the irises to narrate a tour through the garden.

Fern and Marisa strolled among the irises, taking their own private tour while the second tour group enjoyed tea.

Their pupils were contracted to pin-points, the light-grey irises around had a sort of swimming glitter, and round these again the whites were injected with blood.

She had naturally black irises and black eyebrows, with short, almost shaved auburn hair.

The contacts turned his irises completely black, and he blinked twice to center them.

Minoru, growing agitated, made another call, hung up suddenly, and, with white now visible all the way around the irises of his eyeballs, came after Takeshi, who got ready to run the other way.

When he saw her face again, he was amazed at the sudden green paleness of her irises, as if something had drained away.

He sat weaving in the dark, white showing all around his irises, trying to readjust, figure out what was going on.

irises, giant irises, their petals hanging down like tongues of exhausted dogs.

Then an enormous wind blew up, the petals of the irises fell like rain, and the whole grand and grotesque assembly went whirling away, carried higher and higher into the sky until they appeared as small black dots against the face of the moon.