am·​phib·​i·​an am-ˈfi-bē-ən How to pronounce amphibian (audio)
: an amphibious organism
especially : any of a class (Amphibia) of cold-blooded vertebrates (such as frogs, toads, or salamanders) intermediate in many characters between fish and reptiles and having gilled aquatic larvae and air-breathing adults
Unlike reptiles, most amphibians possess a smooth, moist skin and lay their shell-less eggs in water or wet places. Jeffrey P. Cohn
: an amphibious vehicle
especially : an airplane designed to take off from and land on either land or water
amphibian adjective

Examples of amphibian in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Among other things, the sites include information for kidney dialysis patients using home machines, owners of pet fish, reptiles and amphibians concerning water treatment or filters and business owners that treat water for processes or products. Jim Riccioli, Journal Sentinel, 2 Sep. 2023 With few complete fossils to work off, Hawkins had to use his imagination and the advice of comparative anatomists to breathe life into his models, which, in addition to four true dinosaurs, also depict prehistoric mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Yannic Rack, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 Aug. 2023 Each of the snake's brains has a different personality, senior zookeeper for reptiles and amphibians Maddie Michels-Boyce told The Dallas Morning News. Li Cohen, CBS News, 15 Aug. 2023 Wetlands sprawled from either side of the river’s banks, riparian habitats thrived with lush cottonwoods and vegetation for birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Jake Frederico, The Arizona Republic, 30 June 2023 Yasuní National Park spans about 2.5 million acres and houses 610 species of birds, 139 species of amphibians and 121 species of reptiles. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 Aug. 2023 Read full article Among Rhode Island’s diverse range of amphibians — 18 species in 1,200 square miles, according to DEM — the green frog is most common. Carlos R. Muñoz,, 24 July 2023 And yet, the eDNA revealed the presence of 180 plants, fungi, insects, mammals, and amphibians, including 34 species of birds across the two sites, the team reports today in Current Biology. Byelizabeth Pennisi,, 5 June 2023 In Columbia Slough watershed, near Northeast 174th Avenue and Airport Way What’s there: The 165 acres of wetland meadows, cottonwood forests and white oak habitat are prime habitat for deer, coyotes, river otters, birds and amphibians. Gwozniac, oregonlive, 30 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'amphibian.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


New Latin Amphibia, taxon including frogs and salamanders (from neuter plural of amphibius amphibious) + -an entry 1

Note: As a taxon Amphibia was used as a class name already by linnaeus (Systema naturae, 10. editio, 1758, p. 196 et passim), but in a sense that included both amphibians and some reptiles. Limitation of the taxon to approximately its current meaning dates from Thomas Gray's "A Synopsis of the Genera of Reptiles and Amphibia" (Annals of Philosophy, new series vol. 10, July-December, 1825, pp.193-217) according to Darrel R. Frost, et al., "The Amphibian Tree of Life," Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, No. 297 (2006), p. 355. The use of both English amphibian and Latin amphibius with varying gender and number to refer to animals living on both land and sea (and in figurative senses) can be found much earlier.

First Known Use

1749, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of amphibian was in 1749

Dictionary Entries Near amphibian

Cite this Entry

“Amphibian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


am·​phib·​i·​an am-ˈfib-ē-ən How to pronounce amphibian (audio)
: any organism that is able to live both on land and in water
especially : any of a class of cold-blooded vertebrate animals (as frogs and salamanders) that in many respects are between fishes and reptiles
: an airplane designed to take off from and land on either land or water
amphibian adjective
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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