I'm looking for a word or phrase, if there is one, that is similar to the phrase "spectrum of colours" or "array of colours" something to describe the fact that there are several different colours from all over the spectrum of colours.

I'm using it in a sentence akin to "The light glinted off of the something glass" the sentence can be reworked as long as the describer works for me I don't mind.

  • May I take it that the colors aren't arranged in a continuum? If so, may I suggest "particolored"?
    – deadrat
    Sep 9, 2015 at 6:32
  • The colours are arranged in a circle with equal amounts of space, effectively a pie chart. The lines between colours are blurred though so they would mix sort of. Kind of like extreme heterochromia. They are not however arranged in order of their colour. Sep 9, 2015 at 6:35
  • Colors can be arranged I lots of ways
    – Mitch
    Sep 9, 2015 at 13:13
  • I think you may need to add more (unless this is a crossword puzzle clue). The light glinted off of the jewel toned glass. The light glinted off of the spectrum of color in the glass. The light glinted off of the variegated color of the glass. The light glinted off of the jeweled spectrum of glass.
    – user138164
    Sep 10, 2015 at 0:33

9 Answers 9


You may use iridescent :

  • Showing luminous colors that seem to change when seen from different angles.
  • The light glinted off the iridescent glass.



  • Involving more than one colour.

  • showing a variety, having many colours; multicoloured.

  • I do like that word, unfortunately the colours wouldn't change based on viewing angle. Shame really. Sep 9, 2015 at 6:37
  • Oh wow, I'll have to look more into the multichromatic description to make sure it really fits. It sounds perfect at the moment though sounds really good for what I'm going for as well. +1 Sep 9, 2015 at 6:46
  • Or simply chromatic.
    – barbecue
    Sep 10, 2015 at 0:51

The obvious choice for me would be prismatic:

prismatic adj
brilliantly colored; iridescent TFD

It obviously works well in the context of glass.

  • 1
    This doesn't work in British English. The primary meaning of "prismatic" is describing a geometrical shape. A "prismatic glass" would be a piece of glass shaped like a prism, which is not necessarily what the OP meant, and doesn't refer directly to the colour effect. oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/prismatic
    – alephzero
    Sep 9, 2015 at 18:19
  • 1
    @alephzero: Well, definition 1.2 at the link you provide sure seems to fit the sense the OP is askikng for: "(Of colours) formed, separated, or distributed by or as if by an optical prism: a flash of prismatic light on the edge of the glass". Note that OP's example is "the light glinted off the <something> glass"; prismatic seems a perfect fit to me, not only even in but especially in BrE.
    – Robusto
    Sep 9, 2015 at 19:07
  • 2
    I agree about definition 1.2, but I think "the prismatic glass" is just a long way to say "the prism", which is not what the OP means. You get colours when light passes through a prism, not when it glints off it.
    – alephzero
    Sep 9, 2015 at 19:22

Palette was the first word to come to mind for me. As in a palette of colors a painter would use.

The light glinted off the glass palette.

Wikipedia via Imgur:


  • 3
    I've seen some software sdks and libraries that have classes called Palette and are literally Arrays of type Color.
    – Theyouthis
    Sep 9, 2015 at 17:27
  • 4
    -1 Palette was the first word that came to my mind as well, but it also makes no sense in the example given in the question.
    – nitro2k01
    Sep 9, 2015 at 21:38
  • 1
    @Theyouthis As a developer I enjoyed this comment. Sep 9, 2015 at 22:50
  • 1
    "Palette" to me implies, like the photo, a selection of pigments, or in a computing sense, a discrete (and usually fixed) set of colors. It doesn't seem appropriate to refer to multicolored light using that word. I'd go with prismatic or iridescent as others have suggested. "Gradient" also comes to mind, though that implies a smooth transition between colors, so may not be correct either. Sep 10, 2015 at 14:49
  • 1
    While I agree that this doesn't really fit the example, I also think that the example doesn't fit the question.
    – Theyouthis
    Sep 10, 2015 at 16:41

Colorful sounds so simple, is there anything against that?

Multicolored or many-colored are synonymous, see for more synonyms: https://www.google.com/search?q=define:colorful

I guess simple is important if you want the reader to understand easily.


You may also use: Variegated:

  • exhibiting different colours, especially as irregular patches or streaks.

"The light glinted off the variegated glass"


The light glinted off the glass as if glimmers of dreams and imagery from a kaleidoscope.

The light glinted off the kaleidoscopic glass.

The first proposal uses no adjectives, it relies on the minds imagery to figure out the objects and light. The second proposal adjectivises the original noun. Especially in the first sentence, word kaleidoscope is last, with the ambition of adding emphasis.


From OED,

a. An optical instrument, consisting of from two to four reflecting surfaces placed in a tube, at one end of which is a small compartment containing pieces of coloured glass: on looking through the tube, numerous reflections of these are seen, producing brightly-coloured symmetrical figures, which may be constantly altered by rotation of the instrument.

b. fig. A constantly changing group of bright colours or coloured objects; anything which exhibits a succession of shifting phases.

  • 3
    Or kaleidoscopic, to fit the example sentence Sep 9, 2015 at 12:49
  • @user568458 thanks for the comment, please note update...
    – elm
    Sep 10, 2015 at 6:57

The light glinted from the opalescent surface of the glass.

or, if you don't mind padding out your word count:

The colours of the light glinting from the glass surface spanned the entire gamut of the rainbow.


The glass created a colorful shimmering reflection.

Shimmer is to shine with a soft tremulous or fitful light.

From MW.


If the glass is separating the light into visible bands of color, I'd use 'prismatic.'

"The light glinted off of the prismatic glass."

I've seen Nabokov use this word a lot in situations like this.

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