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chameleon

Line breaks: cha|me¦leon
Pronunciation: /kəˈmiːlɪən
 
/
(also chamaeleon)

Definition of chameleon in English:

noun

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 colour.
  • Family Chamaeleonidae: four genera, in particular Chamaeleo, and numerous species, including the European chameleon (C. vulgaris)
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 (tree-dwelling lizard).
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  • They have been replaced by the corresponding segments of the pigment of American chameleon.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.
1.2 figurative A person who changes their opinions or behaviour according to the situation: voters have misgivings about his performance as a political chameleon
More example sentences
  • The political chameleon changes its colors according to pressure, not conscience.
  • To party cynics, she may be seen as a political chameleon, reinventing herself to charm the voters.
  • He was a brilliant careerist and opportunist, a political chameleon whose life story seems more the stuff of fiction than of any kind of conventional history.

Origin

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

Derivatives

chameleonic

1
Pronunciation: /-ˈɒnɪk/
adjective
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.’

Definition of chameleon in:

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