From Middle English camelion, from Old French cameleon, from Latin chamaeleon, from Ancient Greek χαμαιλέων (khamailéōn), from χαμαί (khamaí, “on the earth, on the ground”) + λέων (léōn, “lion”); ultimately a calque from Akkadian 𒌨𒈤𒊭𒆠 (nēšu ša qaqqari, “chameleon, reptile”, literally “lion of the ground", "predator that crawls upon the ground”). The spelling was re-latinized in the early 18th century. The physics sense was coined by Justin Khoury and Amanda Weltman in 2003 in a paper in Physical Review Letters.
- enPR: kəmē'lēən, kəmēl'yən; IPA(key): /kəˈmi.li.ən/, /kəˈmil.jən/
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chameleon (plural chameleons)
- A small to mid-size reptile, of the family Chamaeleonidae, and one of the best known lizard families able to change color and project its long tongue.
- (figuratively) A person with inconstant behavior; one able to quickly adjust to new circumstances.
- 2014 September 8, Michael White, “Roll up, roll up! The Amazing Salmond will show a Scotland you won't believe”, in The Guardian:
- He is a political chameleon, as charming to business leaders he met privately in Aberdeen on Friday night as he has been inspiring to distressed and desperate Labour defectors in Glasgow and beyond.
- (physics) A hypothetical scalar particle with a non-linear self-interaction, giving it an effective mass that depends on its environment: the presence of other fields.
- (Individual Chamaeleonidae) Starship
chameleon (not comparable)
- “chameleon”, in The Century Dictionary […], New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911, →OCLC.
- “chameleon”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.
- Critical and Philological Notes: Tablet XI, Note 314 in Andrew R. George (2003) The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic: Introduction, Critical Edition and Cuneiform Texts, Volume II, Oxford University Press, pages 896-897
- nēšu(m) in Black, Jeremy; George, Andrew; Postgate, Nicholas (2000) A Concise Dictionary of Akkadian, 2nd corrected edition, Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, page 251
chameleon m anim