(1)   Diaphragm consisting of thin overlapping plates that can be adjusted to change the diameter of a central opening
(2)   Muscular diaphragm that controls the size of the pupil; it forms the colored portion of the eye
(3)   Plants with sword-shaped leaves and erect stalks bearing bright-colored flowers composed of three petals and three drooping sepals

Proper noun

  1. A genus of flowering plants of the Iridaceae family.

Proper noun

  1. A messenger of the gods.
  2. ; a flower name used since the end of the 19th century.


  • 1598 William Shakespeare: All's Well That Ends Well: Act I, Scene III :
    What's the matter,
    That this distemper'd messenger of wet,
    The many-colour'd Iris, rounds thine eye?
  • 1990 Joyce Carol Oates: Because It Is Bitter, And Because It Is My Heart ISBN 0452265819 page 39:
    Persia tells Iris she is named for something special: the iris of the eye.
    "I thought I was named for a flower," Iris says, disappointed.
    "An iris is a flower, of course," Persia says, smiling, "but it's this other, too. Our secret. 'The iris of the eye'."
    "The eye?"
    Persia snaps her fingers in Iris's eyes. The gesture is so rude and unexpected, Iris will remember it all her life. After this disclosure, Iris doesn't know whether she likes her name any more.