American chameleon


See under chameleon(def 2).

Origin of American chameleon

An Americanism dating back to 1880–85

Definition for american chameleon (2 of 2)


[ kuh-mee-lee-uh n, -meel-yuh n ]
/ kəˈmi li ən, -ˈmil yən /


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

1300–50; variant of chamaeleon < Latin < Greek chamailéōn, equivalent to chamaí on the ground, dwarf (akin to humus) + léōn lion; replacing Middle English camelion < Middle French < Latin, as above

Related forms

cha·me·le·on·ic [kuh-mee-lee-on-ik] /kəˌmi liˈɒn ɪk/, adjectivecha·me·le·on·like, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for american chameleon (1 of 2)

American chameleon


another name for anole

British Dictionary definitions for american chameleon (2 of 2)


/ (kəˈmiːlɪən) /


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

Derived Forms

chameleonic (kəˌmiːlɪˈɒnɪk), adjectivechameleon-like, adjective

Word Origin for chameleon

C14: from Latin chamaeleon, from Greek khamaileōn, from khamai on the ground + leōn lion
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