tad·​pole | \ ˈtad-ˌpōl How to pronounce tadpole (audio) \

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

Illustration of tadpole

tadpole in stages

Examples of tadpole in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web What results is like a tadpole with an extra long ropey tail, and the drop part is almost unparalleled in strength. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Watch This Indestructible Glass Drop Literally Break a Bullet," 28 Nov. 2020 Depending on the need and location, the future offspring of the six frogs currently at the center could be released into the wild at a variety of life stages: egg mass, tadpole, froglet or full-grown frog. Erin Stone, The Arizona Republic, "Phoenix Zoo conservation work gives imperiled Chiricahua leopard frogs a path to survival," 9 Nov. 2020 Our results suggest that higher rates of filter-feeding also altered the species composition of bacteria in the environment in ways that further disturbed the tadpole microbiome. Sasha Greenspan, The Conversation, "Climate warming is altering animals’ gut microbes, which are critical to their health and survival," 28 Sep. 2020 After witnessing his water beetle-tadpole smackdown, Dr. Valdez, too, had written it up as a note. Cara Giaimo, New York Times, "When Bugs Crawl Up the Food Chain," 10 Aug. 2020 And when these delicate mucus homes get clogged, the tadpole-looking critters — called giant larvaceans — build a new one. Seth Borenstein, Anchorage Daily News, "Scientists learn how tiny critters make ocean ‘snot palaces’," 3 June 2020 The snot houses often are nearly transparent and flow all around the critter that looks like a tadpole, but isn’t. Seth Borenstein, Anchorage Daily News, "Scientists learn how tiny critters make ocean ‘snot palaces’," 3 June 2020 Algae, snails, tadpoles, dragonflies, crayfish and minnow-type small fish were all studied from Clark's Marsh by Purdue University researchers in 2018. Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press, "Restrictions expanded near former Wurtsmith air base after PFAS found in most wildlife," 28 May 2020 Moving down the food chain, removal of frog tadpoles has been shown to lead to more algae growth in streams, depriving them of oxygen. National Geographic, "THE BEST OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX," 13 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tadpole.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of tadpole

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tadpole

Middle English taddepol, from tode toad + polle head

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Time Traveler for tadpole

Time Traveler

The first known use of tadpole was in the 15th century

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Statistics for tadpole

Last Updated

8 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tadpole.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tadpole. Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

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How to pronounce tadpole (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of tadpole

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


tad·​pole | \ ˈtad-ˌpōl How to pronounce tadpole (audio) \

Kids Definition of tadpole

: the larva of a frog or toad that has a long tail, breathes with gills, and lives in water

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More from Merriam-Webster on tadpole

Nglish: Translation of tadpole for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tadpole for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tadpole

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