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polliwog

or pol·ly·wog

[pol-ee-wog]
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noun
  1. a tadpole.
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Origin of polliwog

1400–50; variant of polliwig, earlier polwigge, late Middle English polwygle. See poll1, wiggle
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for polliwog

Historical Examples

  • The chatter of society has succeeded that of the goose and the polliwog.

    'Charge It'

    Irving Bacheller

  • Old forms of polliwog are pollywig, polewiggle, and 242 pollwiggle.

    The Log of the Sun

    William Beebe

  • The result was one of those quick india-rubber scuffles fearful to behold, but delightful to human nature in its polliwog state.

    Hans Brinker

    Mary Mapes Dodge

  • The result was one of those quick India-rubber scuffles fearful to behold but delightful to human nature in its polliwog state.

    Hans Brinker

    Mary Mapes Dodge


British Dictionary definitions for polliwog

polliwog

pollywog

noun
  1. British dialect, US and Canadian another name for tadpole
  2. informal a sailor who has not crossed the equatorCompare shellback
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Word Origin

C15 polwygle; see poll, wiggle
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for polliwog

n.

"tadpole," mid-15c., polwygle, probably from pol "head" (see poll (n.)) + wiglen "to wiggle" (see wiggle (v.)). Modern spelling is 1830s, replacing earlier polwigge.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper