Definition of polliwog in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpɒlɪwɒɡ/
(also pollywog)


1North American & dialect A tadpole.
Example sentences
  • I would get my boys out of the classroom, and we'd be in a field all day long chasing tadpoles and pollywogs and looking at swamp water.
  • But pollywogs must grow legs, lose a tail, and completely reconfigure their jaws and digestive tract to prepare for a life of eating flies.
  • Throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, American school children planted and tended gardens, watched polliwogs develop into frogs, tamed and bred animals, and learned to identify trees.
2North American informal A new sailor, especially one crossing the equator for the first time.
Example sentences
  • Diving through the deep waters of the East Indonesian Archipelago the crew enjoyed a crossing of the line ceremony where 30 pollywogs received their certificates.
  • The lovely Queen Amphitrite, a royal herald, barber and doctor, and of course the ubiquitous bears were all present to witness the baptism of more than two dozen young pollywogs into the ancient order of the deep.


Late Middle English (earlier as pollywiggle): from poll in the sense 'head' + the verb wiggle.

Words that rhyme with polliwog


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: polli|wog

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