[ kuh-mee-lee-uhn, -meel-yuhn ]
/ kəˈmi li ən, -ˈmil yən /
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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.



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Origin of chameleon

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


cha·me·le·on·ic [kuh-mee-lee-on-ik], /kəˌmi liˈɒn ɪk/, adjectivecha·me·le·on·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for chameleon

British Dictionary definitions for chameleon

/ (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 of chameleon

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