noun \ˈtad-ˌpōl\

: a small creature that becomes an adult frog or toad, that has a rounded body and a long tail, and that lives in water

Full Definition of TADPOLE

:  a larval amphibian; specifically :  a frog or toad larva that has a rounded body with a long tail bordered by fins and external gills soon replaced by internal gills and that undergoes a metamorphosis to the adult

Illustration of TADPOLE

Origin of TADPOLE

Middle English taddepol, from tode toad + polle head
First Known Use: 15th century


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Aquatic larval stage of frogs and toads. Tadpoles have a short, oval body, broad tail, small mouth, and no external gills. Most are herbivorous, but those of some species are predatory or even cannibalistic. Tadpole metamorphosis follows a pattern of gradual development of forelimbs and hind limbs, resorption of the tail, shortening of the intestine, disappearance of the gills, and development of the lungs. On completion of metamorphosis, the young frog or toad emerges onto land.

Variants of TADPOLE

tadpole or polliwog


Next Word in the Dictionary: tadpole madtom
Previous Word in the Dictionary: Tadjik
All Words Near: tadpole

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up tadpole? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).