- any of numerous Old World lizards of the family Chamaeleontidae, characterized by the ability to change the color of their skin, very slow locomotion, and a projectile tongue.
- any of several American lizards capable of changing the color of the skin, especially Anolis carolinensis (American chameleon), of the southeastern U.S.
- a changeable, fickle, or inconstant person.
- (initial capital letter) Astronomy. Chamaeleon.
Origin of chameleon
- a small southern constellation between Musca and Hydrus.
Origin of Chamaeleon
Examples from the Web for chameleon
You have to be an everyman and chameleon, so that every bit of you is involved in the end.Martin Amis Talks About Nazis, Novels, and Cute Babies
Ronald K. Fried
October 9, 2014
While he could be a chameleon on the international stage, he was never a man of dialogue on the domestic front.Venezuela Burns, Body Count Rises
March 16, 2014
He is also a chameleon, he says, able to adapt his personality to appease any audience.The Party Monster Lives For the Applause: Michael Alig’s Second Act
February 28, 2014
Far from a crude warlord, he was a chameleon, equally comfortable as a preacher or a warrior.Liberian Nostalgia for War Criminal Charles Taylor
April 28, 2012
These days, Dougherty calls McCain a “chameleon” who is “flopping all over the place” to make himself attractive to voters.McCain's New Nemesis
Samuel P. Jacobs
May 12, 2010
Not that mine is altogether a chameleon spirit, with no hue of its own.Beneath an Umbrella (From "Twice Told Tales")
I named my chameleon "Cross-ci Cross-a," in honour of Mr. Cross.My Double Life
During the day, no doubt, she melted into the sky like a chameleon.The Cruise of the Dry Dock
T. S. Stribling
It is not pleasant to have you imitate the chameleon, in this manner.Louisiana Lou
William West Winter
Lonnie didn't stop to question if it really was essence of chameleon juice.Zero Data
- any lizard of the family Chamaeleontidae of Africa and Madagascar, having long slender legs, a prehensile tail and tongue, and the ability to change colour
- a changeable or fickle person
- a faint constellation lying between Volans and the South celestial pole
Word Origin and History for chameleon
mid-14c., camelion, from Old French caméléon, from Latin chamaeleon, from Greek khamaileon "the chameleon," from khamai "on the ground" (also "dwarf"), akin to chthon "earth" (see chthonic) + leon "lion" (see lion). Perhaps the large head-crest on some species was thought to resemble a lion's mane. The classical -h- was restored in English early 18c. Figurative sense of "variable person" is 1580s. It formerly was supposed to live on air (cf. "Hamlet" III.ii.98).