Definition of chameleon in English:


Syllabification: cha·me·le·on
Pronunciation: /kəˈmēlyən, -lēən
(chiefly British also chamaeleon)


  • 1A small slow-moving Old World lizard with a prehensile tail, long extensible tongue, protruding eyes that rotate independently, and a highly developed ability to change color.
    • Family Chamaeleonidae: four genera, in particular Chamaeleo, and numerous species, including the European chameleon (C. vulgaris) and the common chameleon (C. chamaeleon)
    More example sentences
    • We all understand the ability of the chameleon to change its colours to suit its environment.
    • There are many other snakes of all different sizes, as well as chameleons, geckos, lizards, skinks, iguanas, spiders and huge tortoises.
    • Raxworthy and colleagues developed a computer model to study chameleons, lizards known for their ability to change color depending on their mood or surroundings, in Madagascar.
  • 1.1 (also American chameleon) North American An anole.
    More example sentences
    • They have been replaced by the corresponding segments of the pigment of American chameleon.
    • Among the saurian the iguanas can be pointed out, as well as the American chameleons and varanus.
    • In the pure-cone American chameleon retina, all visual opsins including rod opsin are expressed.
  • 1.2A person who changes their opinions or behavior according to the situation.
    More example sentences
    • She describes herself as a nurse chameleon who has not changed her colors - she is just wearing them in a different medium.
    • Never transforming his image significantly, yet constantly changing roles like a chameleon.
    • Look at an actor who never ceases to amaze in his breathe of characters and you'll know she is not the only fashion chameleon around.



Pronunciation: /kəˌmēlēˈänik/
More example sentences
  • Such are the eyes and soul of Christopher Doyle: chameleonic, shifting, thick and excessive, like the multifarious textures of the infinite spectrum of images he composes.
  • He's had a somewhat chameleonic career which has seen him as prog rock axe hero, fusioneer as well as a mainstream jazzer.
  • Or maybe it was the fact that she projected an aura of chameleonic malleability, in his words you could ‘take her to the ballet or a biker bar, and she would fit in completely, perfectly in either environ.’


Middle English: via Latin chamaeleon from Greek khamaileōn, from khamai 'on the ground' + leōn 'lion'.

More definitions of chameleon

Definition of chameleon in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day skosh
Pronunciation: skəʊʃ
a small amount; a little