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Origin: L. Iris, iridis, the goddess, gr, the rainbow, iris of the eye, the plant iris. Cf. Orris.

1. The goddess of the rainbow, and swift-footed messenger of the gods.

2. The rainbow.

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

4. (Science: anatomy) The contractile membrane perforated by the pupil, and forming the coloured portion of the eye. See eye.

5. (Science: botany) 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.