I'm looking for a word which describes a certain motion, a way of moving. Namely, I'm searching for a word which describes how a kaleidoscope moves when you turn it, or how a web moves when you pinch it in one location and drag that point around. This motion is distinctive in that if one location in the object moves then every other point moves in a complicated but, nonetheless, a systematic and fluid way.

I will be very sad if no such word exists.


I'm going to ask that everyone ignore my web analogy. That motion is distinctive to the idea I'm trying to capture. Here are a couple gifs that exemplify what I have in mind:

In addition to what I have said, this movement is interesting in that moving one point causes all the other points to move, but changing the root point you move does not alter how the other points were moving when you were moving the original vantage point.

I think I'll have to give up and just go with kaleidoscopic.

  • 'Kaleidoscope' means either the instrument, or 'any complex pattern of frequently / constantly changing shapes and colours' (or 'a complicated set of circumstances') [AHDEL] – Edwin Ashworth Apr 9 '14 at 21:04
  • Sphere is animated hyperbolic tessellation. 4-d Rotation is animated topological transformation. Kaleidoscope is animated Cartesian tessellation. – Aaron K Apr 9 '14 at 22:41
  • The sphere gif reminds me of a gyroscope. – JLG Apr 9 '14 at 23:45

I do not think that the motion in webs and kaleidoscopes are described by exactly the same phenomenon. I think that Voronoi Diagrams and Delaunay Triangulation would be most interesting to your inquiry about webs. I would call their motion "Voronoi optimizations." Hyperbolic tessellations are more closely related to kaleidoscopes and I would describe their motion as simply "kaleidoscopic."

  • youtube.com/watch?v=ly8tgaswRo8 An nice example of a Voronoi / Delaunay Triangulation Optimization Diagram as an animation/musical toy iApp. – Aaron K Apr 9 '14 at 22:33
  • Everything you've mentioned is interesting. And I feel like moving hyperbolic tessellations capture what I want (or higher-dimensional analogs). I guess I'll have to settle for kaleidoscopic. – user70564 Apr 9 '14 at 22:41
  • I'm sure it will be better than "Voronoi/Delaunay Triangulation Optimization Diagram-ic" would be. – Oldcat Apr 9 '14 at 23:27

These are not specific to that kind of movement, but:

  • meshed
  • harmonious/harmonized - if you're emphasizing the beauty/symmetry, I'd favor this
  • synchronized

"Kinematic" might be applicable in this case. Let me know what you think of that word as a solution to your query.


  • Unfortunately, I can't find anything that defines this word independently of 'kinematics' which is a field of study of body movements. Can you define it for me? – user70564 Apr 9 '14 at 22:34

I think the words transformation, distortion, and permutation are all suitable. Even diffusion and refraction works. These are all utilitarian but easily understood.

I however like phantasmagorial

  • a confusing or strange scene that is like a dream because it is always changing in an odd way.
  • a constantly changing medley or real or imagined images (as in a dream)
  • This almost fits what I want, but I don't want the overtones of 'phantasm' or 'other-wordly.' – user70564 Apr 9 '14 at 22:35

Consider simply using "kaleidoscopic."

kaleidoscopic: changing form, pattern, color, etc., in the manner of a kaleidoscope.


Psychedelic is often associated with the vivid colours and complex patterns of a kaleidoscope. If you added kinetic as in kinetic art I think that would paint a appropriate image.

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