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noun, cha·me·leon often attributive \kə-ˈmēl-yən\

: a type of lizard that can change the color of its skin to look like the colors that are around it

: a person who often changes his or her beliefs or behavior in order to please others or to succeed

Full Definition of CHAMELEON

:  any of a family (Chamaeleontidae) of chiefly arboreal Old World lizards with prehensile tail, independently movable eyeballs, and unusual ability to change the color of the skin
a :  a person given to often expedient or facile change in ideas or character
b :  one that is subject to quick or frequent change especially in appearance
cha·me·le·on·ic \-ˌmē-lē-ˈä-nik\ adjective
cha·me·leon·like \-ˌlīk\ adjective

Examples of CHAMELEON

  1. <at the summer resort he acquired a reputation as a social chameleon—someone who could be whatever his hosts wanted him to be>


Middle English camelion, from Middle French, from Latin chamaeleon, from Greek chamaileōn, from chamai on the ground + leōn lion — more at humble
First Known Use: 14th century
CHAMELEONIC Defined for Kids


noun cha·me·leon \kə-ˈmēl-yən\

Definition of CHAMELEON for Kids

:  a lizard that has the ability to change the color of its skin

Word History of CHAMELEON

Many of the lizards of the Old World must have looked quite startling. They may even have reminded the ancients of small lions. The Greeks gave these strange-looking lizards the name chamaileōn, a compound of chamai, on the ground, and leōn, lion. The English word chameleon came from the Greek word.


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