Definition of prismatic in English:



  • 1Relating to or having the form of a prism or prisms.

    ‘a prismatic structure’
    • ‘Remnants of outer calcitic shell layer show a polygonal pattern indicating original presence of columnar prismatic structure; inner aragonitic layers not preserved.’
    • ‘The cardiid microstructures which Popov called ‘simple prismatic’ are presently termed fibrous prismatic or composite fibrous prismatic.’
    • ‘In better preserved specimens the layer shows a prismatic structure.’
    • ‘This finely prismatic structure occurs only locally within the marginal denticles, but is better developed locally immediately below the dorsal midline of the shell.’
    • ‘It is only a matter of time before Guerlain or Dior perceive this as well, and a new perfume, ‘Manhattan’ perhaps, will be marketed in an equally handsome elongated prismatic bottle.’
    • ‘In Apotocardium, a structurally similar, finely prismatic outer shell layer predominates posteriorly in the rostral and carinal areas where the porcelaneous middle shell layer is relatively reduced.’
    • ‘Texture can be an important control here; clay content is important in the creation of blocky, prismatic, and columnar structures.’
    • ‘It comprises two 50-foot prismatic structures, clad in glass block, facing each other across a black granite plaza.’
    • ‘Most have the typical prismatic hexagonal shape, but some crystals are extremely flattened; others display steep, pyramidal tapering toward the termination.’
    • ‘Consisting of a flat-topped prismatic structure supported by a braced tube that encloses walls almost totally of glass, 21 Century Tower is a brilliant exercise in minimalism.’
    • ‘The luminaires have a translucent prismatic glass diffuser, in three sizes, internally coloured in white, yellow, blue or grey.’
    • ‘Hearing the monitor shatter completely upon the hardwood floor brought some satisfaction, but seeing the tiny, prismatic splinters glittering on the floor, so like my heart at the moment, brought tears to my eyes once more.’
    • ‘The structure also appears to be prismatic in nature.’
    • ‘Kerber noted that the pegma-like structure in Watsonella consisted of the prismatic outer shell layer, and he maintained, on this basis, that it was not a true pegma.’
    • ‘Zircons extracted from this sample were typically prismatic, red to yellow-whitish in colour and translucent to opaque.’
    • ‘The highly thickened bone with characteristic prismatic internal structure accompanied by the distinctive ornamentation diagnostic of this group allows for an unequivocal identification to the subfamily level.’
    • ‘The typical three-dimensional structure generally has a prismatic or subprismatic shape that expands in size toward the top.’
    • ‘In this same paper, Popov provided a classification of composite prismatic structures that overlaps with but differs from the present one in several respects.’
    • ‘Modern pinnids are morphologically and microstructurally nearly symmetrical, with the same calcitic regular simple prismatic structure comprising a layer of similar thickness in the left and right valves.’
    multicoloured, many-hued, rainbow-like, kaleidoscopic, iridescent, lustrous, shimmering, glittering, sparkling, scintillating, variegated, shot, moiré, opaline, milky, pearly, nacreous, pearlescent
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of an instrument) incorporating a prism or prisms.
      ‘a prismatic compass’
      • ‘SFITs create functionality by incorporating specialty fibers in the textile - optical fiber, for example - as well as substrates, sensors, displays, and prismatic materials, among others.’
      • ‘Concentrating on defending herself, S'aturinni bought the Major enough time to mumble slightly different syllables, his gemmed gauntlets flashing red this time as a volley of prismatic darts materialised.’
    2. 1.2 (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’
      • ‘Here the background pulses with a prismatic aura incorporating a rainbow of Russell's favorite tints while emphasizing the hues - orchid, violet, and plum - of his signature purple.’
      • ‘In Embrace, a small but potent piece at the San Francisco Art Institute, a mask dissolves into a prismatic starburst in tones of blue streaked with red.’
      • ‘The optical and prismatic movement of light remained a starting point for these works, but the end result shows a geometric clarity and a fine honing of colour relations.’
      • ‘Winifred's later works explore prismatic colour effects; she also painted landscapes and flower pictures (Glimpse upon Waking, 1976; London, Tate) where luminous colour creates space and form.’
      • ‘‘Good morning,’ I whispered to myself as the first rays of run in far too long crept through the curtains and cast prismatic rainbows along the opposite wall.’
      • ‘But when the sun shone through them, prismatic lights were bouncing across the room.’
      • ‘The color of the concrete in the photograph of the Unity Temple is transformed by the reflective and prismatic tinting effects of light and colored shadows interacting with the surface.’
      • ‘When the light goes out, the glass reveals the outside world, transforming the light of a street lamp into a prismatic rainbow on the wall.’
      • ‘You can even choose a prismatic block to deliberately direct light onto a light coloured ceiling where it is softly diffused around the room.’
      • ‘In Bulatov's painting, lozenges of prismatic hues float out of the deep space of a black ground.’
      • ‘In this variation on the prismatic decomposition of light, the ghostly colors retain a precise hue; most are directly taken from pastel color-books.’
      • ‘It was filled with ornate stained glass windows, narrow windows of mosaic glass along with displays of other human religious art in prismatic light.’
      • ‘Individually spray-painted in pastel tints of blue, green, purple, pink, orange and yellow, they suggest rays of prismatic light as well as gigantic artificially flavored popsicles.’
      • ‘‘Aye, sir,’ replied the Spector as the Wight Symbiot in the left lens of his golden spectacles shimmered a prismatic blue.’
    3. 1.3 (of colours) varied and brilliant.
      ‘a hundred prismatic tints’
      • ‘It was a simple silver band, but it sparkled every prismatic color imaginable.’
      • ‘The car enters the prismatic bands and I am bathed in iridescence.’
      • ‘Primed by Pissarro in color theory, Cezanne viewed the southern landscape through the prismatic lens of a modern color theorist as well.’


Early 18th century: from French prismatique, from Greek prisma ‘thing sawn’ (see prism).