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See also: kaléidoscope


English Wikipedia has an article on:
A design seen in the kaleidoscope
The tube of a kaleidoscope

Alternative forms[edit]


From Ancient Greek καλός (kalós, beautiful) + εἶδος (eîdos, shape) (compare -oid) +‎ -scope. Coined 1817, by David Brewster, its inventor.[1]

Figurative sense of “constantly changing pattern” attested 1819 by Lord Byron, who had received a kaleidoscope from his publisher.[1]


  • IPA(key): /kəˈlaɪdəˌskoʊp/
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kaleidoscope (plural kaleidoscopes)

  1. A tube of mirrors containing loose coloured beads etc. that is rotated to produce a succession of symmetrical designs.
  2. (figuratively) A constantly changing set of colours, or other things.
    • 1831, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Romance and Reality, volume 1, pages 34-35:
      Lady Etheringhame being now a constitutionalist, dined rather early: and Emily, her head like a kaleidoscope, full of colours, with not a little disdain, put on the blue silk she had thought bleu céleste, at least in the country.
    • 1961 April, G. Freeman Allen, “The "Rheingold" goes via Cologne”, in Trains Illustrated, page 231:
      The rail journey from The Hook [Hook of Holland] to Basle is a scenic kaleidoscope, ranging from the flat terrain of the Netherlands to the high ranges of the Black Forest, from the straight Dutch waterways to the sinuous Rhine gorge, from the ocean-going shipping of canals to the busy inland traffic of the Rhine and from peaceful farmland to thriving centres of commerce.
    • 2020 June 17, David Clough, “Then and now: trains through Crewe”, in Rail, page 60:
      Another most notable change concerns rolling stock liveries. Back then, corporate Rail Blue was omnipresent, whereas now there is a kaleidoscope of colours and styles.

Derived terms[edit]


Further reading[edit]


kaleidoscope (third-person singular simple present kaleidoscopes, present participle kaleidoscoping, simple past and past participle kaleidoscoped)

  1. (intransitive) To move in shifting patterns.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Douglas Harper (2001–2021), “kaleidoscope”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.