The adjective iridescent (pronounced with the stress on the third syllable and with the first '-e-' like that in 'get' and the second an indeterminate shwa, 'irr-i-DES-'nt' IPA: /ˌɪr ɪ ˈdɛ sənt/) spelled this way, and no other (when it is spelled in a recognized way) means 'of many and varying colours', like soap bubbles, or petrol on puddles in the road. It originally meant 'like [the colours in] the rainbow'.
- Etymological note: iridescent is derived from the name of Iris (Greek Ίρις, genitive Ίριδος (Iridos)), the goddess in Greek mythology who acted as one of the messengers of the gods. She is a personification of the rainbow, and it was believed that her many-coloured garment appeared as the rainbow when she carried messages between earth and heaven. This is attached to the common ending for adjectives -escent.
The name Iris should remind you that there is only one '-r-' in iridescence.
This page was suggested by the list of "25 of the most commonly misspelled words in the English language", in the article on "spelling" in Garner, Bryan A., The Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Style, Oxford University Press, 2000; on line at Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press, under licence to Hull University. 18 July 2006. <http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t26.e2017>. Although the list claims "25 of the most commonly misspelled words in the English language", it may reflect the American language of the book rather than AWE's experience of English teaching in Britain. Users of AWE may find more use in our categories spelling and spelling common errors.
AWE shares the confidence of the original article: "Naturally, [the commonly misspelled words] are spelled correctly here".