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[pol-ee-wog] /ˈpɒl iˌwɒg/


or pollywog

[pol-ee-wog] /ˈpɒl iˌwɒg/
a tadpole.
Origin of polliwog
late Middle English
1400-50; variant of polliwig, earlier polwigge, late Middle English polwygle. See poll1, wiggle Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for pollywog
Historical Examples
  • You look like the bullfrog on the bank and the pollywog in the pool.

  • Under the microscope they show a sort of head and tail like a pollywog.

    The Sex Side of Life Mary Dennett
  • I'm a worm, a maggot, brother to the pollywog an' child of the blow-fly.

    Smoke Bellew Jack London
  • He caught a pollywog for bait, with which he waded to a deep, cool place under a shady bank.

    Wood Folk at School William J. Long
  • It will be seen that one looks like a mouse, whilst the other resembles a pollywog, or a newly-hatched dragon.

    The Art of Amusing Frank Bellew
  • "Why, grow a new tail like that pollywog," replied Peter, and told Jerry all that he had seen.

    The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad Thornton W. Burgess
  • Peter looked, and sure enough there was a pollywog with a pair of legs sprouting out.

    The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad Thornton W. Burgess
  • The old bachelor don't die at all—he sort of rots away, like a pollywog's tail.

    The Complete Works of Artemus Ward Charles Farrar Browne (AKA Artemus Ward)
  • Hee-poof—I've swallowed a pollywog, Mr. Beebe, water's wonderful, water's simply ripping.

    A Room With A View E. M. Forster
  • A native child or pollywog as the Terrans called them was clinging desperately to the teacher's skirt.

British Dictionary definitions for pollywog


(Brit, dialect, US & Canadian) another name for tadpole
(informal) a sailor who has not crossed the equator Compare shellback
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
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Word Origin and History for pollywog



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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