Below is quoted from vocabulary.com.

... (The word) Iridescent came to be in 1796, when some enthusiastic word maker took the Latin word iris, which means "rainbow," and morphed it into an English word that describes anything giving off a luminous, rainbow sheen or that changes color in the light. It's a great descriptive word — if you can resist the urge to spell it with an extra "r."

Apologize for my dumbness but what the word will be with an extra "r?" And how is that "great descriptive?"

  • I sell iridescent bird feathers for fashion, jewelry, decor, etc. . . . and whether I spell it with one r or two it doesn't hurt my sales. – user62889 Jan 20 '14 at 21:01
  • I have always spelled it with two R's. I am shocked and discouraged to find it should only have one. This dims its luster, in my eyes. – Lyla M. Mar 21 '17 at 5:15

If you were to add an extra "r", the word will become... wrong. Simply that. It seems that although this is a very rare mistake, it still occurs. Taking a look at Google Ngrams:

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As you can see, this mistake is very rare, the author is saying that it does happen, and that we should avoid this mistake.

  • Lots of words take the form of ir- + something, so there would be two R's, thus irridescent. Like irregardless. :) – Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Aug 30 '11 at 12:31

Part A) (great descriptive word) is just saying that the word itself is evocative and means a particular quality, quite precisely.

Part B) I think is a subtle joke implying that it's often spelled incorrectly.

protected by Andrew Leach Mar 21 '17 at 7:51

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