Definition of chameleon in English:

chameleon

(British chamaeleon)

Pronunciation /kəˈmēlyən/ /kəˈmiljən/

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Translate chameleon into Spanish

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 color.

    Family Chamaeleonidae: four genera, in particular Chamaeleo, and numerous species, including the European chameleon (C. vulgaris) and the common chameleon (C. chamaeleon)

    ‘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.’
    • ‘Remarkably, the loss of the tongue protractors in chameleons has not affected the external feeding kinematics.’
    • ‘These and a whole list of other questions far longer than a chameleon's telescopic tongue, still need to be answered.’
    • ‘Everyone in Canada will now have the uncanny ability of the chameleon.’
    • ‘According to Anderson, the ability of chameleons to change color stems from special cells called chromatophores found in the upper layers of their skin.’
    • ‘The team that saw France bestride the football world for the first time ever had more colours than a chameleon and, ultimately, did more for race relations than any number of government initiatives.’
    • ‘In the evening the Mekong always seemed to come alive, changing its colour like a chameleon, camouflaging itself against the darkening sky until it swallowed the sun.’
    • ‘I watch the sky change its colour like a chameleon.’
    • ‘It is as if to survive, it has had to change names, like a chameleon changing colours.’
    • ‘It lacked the light brown fur, however, and instead owned a soft, fleshy skin with the abilities of a chameleon.’
    • ‘The chameleon has the ability to bring long life or death, fecundity or barrenness, depending on its color.’
    • ‘This is similar in ways to the chameleon, a lizard which can alter the colour of its skin.’
    • ‘Toys made of rubber in the shape of snakes, lizards, chameleons, scorpions and crabs are selling like hot cakes.’
    • ‘This is the last view myriad insects have in life before being swamped by a long, sticky tongue and sucked back into the chameleon's mouth.’
    • ‘Their eyes move independently of each other, like those of a chameleon, and their bodies are covered by bony plates, similar to those of seahorses.’
    • ‘Similarly, some modern ectotherms, chameleons for example, have an erect posture.’
    • ‘A chameleon was shifting to match the kaleidoscope of colour given off by the lights of a gramophone record store.’
    • ‘Chameleons such as this male Parson's chameleon from Madagascar change their skin color to hide and to communicate.’
    1. 1.1North American An anole (tree-dwelling lizard).
      ‘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.’
      • ‘This is a common characteristic between American chameleons and those of Europe and Africa.’
      • ‘They are often referred to as American chameleons, although they are unrelated to chameleons.’
      • ‘The following are answers to several questions I have been asked recently about a common lizard of the Southeast, called green anoles by some people and American chameleons by others.’
      • ‘Green anoles are often called American chameleons because of their ability to change color from bright green to brown to grey.’
      • ‘There are no native American chameleons, although there are many pet chameleons.’
      • ‘The American chameleon, or anole, is not a true chameleon, but a small lizard of the iguana family, found in the SE United States and noted for its color changes.’
      • ‘Contrary to popular belief, the American chameleon does not assume the color of its surroundings.’
      • ‘We then started studying green anoles (otherwise known as American chameleons), the creatures that live in the grass that we planted.’
      • ‘Turtles, crayfish, snails, fish, salamanders, American chameleons, newts, insects, bacteria, and algae all can be successfully raised in the River Tank, but questions remain as to which ones can coexist, and for how long, before being eaten by another inhabitant.’
      • ‘It happened because I was married to an American chameleon (I must mention here that American chameleons are not true chameleons - they look much the same but lack some of our more amazing abilities).’
      • ‘Most North American lizards belong to this family, including the collared lizards, the utas, the swifts, the so-called horned toads, or horned lizards, and the American chameleon, or anole (not a true chameleon).’
      • ‘In addition to iguanas, the Iguania include agamids, chameleons and a few lesser known groups.’
      • ‘If the ventral curvature of tail is real, then that, in concert with its extremely narrow scaupulae, suggests that a more appropriate functional analog would be found in arboreal chameleons.’
    2. 1.2A person who changes their opinions or behavior according to the situation.
      ‘voters have misgivings about his performance as a political chameleon’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The most brilliant move by the director was the casting of artistic chameleon and rock-and-roll space oddity David Bowie.’
      • ‘The strange thing about abusers is that they're like some kind of social chameleon.’
      • ‘Bowie remains the quintessential song-and-dance man, effortlessly charming and elegant, and as ever, a shameless karma chameleon.’
      • ‘You know, the wily old chameleon could still come out ahead.’
      • ‘I was the most extreme kind of musical chameleon.’
      • ‘It was impossible not to like this energetic chameleon, this part salesman, part bit actor and part seducer.’
      • ‘The real surprise would be if the post-modern chameleon made two albums in a row that sounded alike.’
      • ‘Listeners seemed divided over whether Skaggs or musical chameleon Elvis Costello stole Thursday's show.’
      • ‘We would have to agree with this article, which dubs these guys "musical chameleons".’
      • ‘On his fifth album, Harper plays the role of musical chameleon, shifting and defying musical categorization.’

Origin

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