See also: kaléidoscope


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A design seen in the kaleidoscope
The tube of a kaleidoscope

Alternative formsEdit


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. A constantly changing set of colours, or other things.
    • 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.

Derived termsEdit


Further readingEdit


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 kaleidoscope” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2020.