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Alternative forms[edit]


chameleon +‎ -ize


chameleonize (third-person singular simple present chameleonizes, present participle chameleonizing, simple past and past participle chameleonized)

  1. (intransitive) To change colour or turn various colours; to be transformed (to suit changing circumstances).
    • 1599, Thomas Nashe, Nashe’s Lenten Stuff, containing, The Description and first Procreation and Increase of the Town of Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, in William Oldys (ed.), The Harleian Miscellany, London: T. Osborne, 1745, p. 153,[1]
      King, by your Leave, for, in your Kingship, I must leave you, and repeat how from White to Red you chameleonised.
    • 1909, Porter Emerson Browne, A Fool There Was, New York: The H.K. Fly Company, Chapter 13, p. 100,[2]
      I care nothing for the plaudits of the populace. I’m ambitious, in a way; but when that way requires me to leave the people—the things—that I love, then ambition chameleonizes and I become ambitious antithetically.
    • 2003, Toby Cecchini, Cosmopolitan: A Bartender’s Life, Broadway Books,[3]
      One of the things I love about my bar is its ability to chameleonize from a rock-and-roll dive bar to a wine geek tasting post to an annoyingly elitist art world clubhouse to a fashion model/coke whore hang to a gay bar to a bridge-and-tunnel frat party, sometimes incorporating three such incarnations in a night.
    • 2012, Sanja Potkonjak, “The Indifferent, the Obedient, and the Adjusted: Three Women’s Narratives about Socialism in Croatia,” in Daniela Koleva (ed.), Negotiating Normality: Everyday Lives in Socialist Institutions, Transaction Publishers, p. 213,[4]
      The new socialists seemed to be just tuning in, uttering empty words, doing as the others did, following them, not sticking out, “chameleonizing” to the environment and to a socialist way of life.
  2. (transitive) To cause to change colour or turn various colours; to transform (to suit changing circumstances).
    • 1878, “Homœopathy and Exclusiveness,” Letter to the editor, Medical Record, 28 September, 1878, p. 257,[5]
      Such a difference of opinion is passed over with a shrug of the shoulder, for some “regulars” practise empirically (clinically), and others scientifically. The “majority” and “Medical Ethics” contend that every practitioner shall sail under the colors he or she may select, but not use one which may be chameleonized to suit the individual notions and prejudices of the public at large.
    • 1897, Edward Franklin Buchner, A Study of Kant’s Psychology with Reference to The Critical Philosophy, Psychological Review, New York: Macmillan, Monograph Supplement, No. 4, January, 1897, Chapter 2, p. 14,[6]
      The dogmatism of youth was perfected in the criticism of manhood, and revealed in the ethical exotericism of old age. Yet, with all the multifarious content of his thinking, and the chameleonized forms it was led to assume, there runs through it all a common trait.
  3. (reflexive) To transform oneself, as if changing colour like a chameleon.
    • 1841, Fanny Appleton Longfellow, Letter to Isaac Appleton Jewett dated 25 January, 1841, in Edward Wagenknecht (ed.), Mrs. Longfellow: Selected Letters and Journals of Fanny Appleton Longfellow, New York: Longmans, Green & Co., 1956, p. 75,[7]
      [] after [reading] Virgil and Dante [] in an atmosphere trembling with eternal lamentations and on a soil drenched with unceasing showers of tears all the morning, every evening, lately, I am in a ball-room where flourishes a whip-syllabub of life, as if under our feet yawned no such realities. But I can chameleonize myself and enjoy all.
    • 1864, George Bliss, “Causes of the War,” Speech delivered in the House of Representatives, Washington, DC: Constitutional Union Office, pp. 3-4,[8]
      If an intelligent stranger desired to discover the root of our national difficulties, he would naturally inquire into the history, character, and action of the political parties into which our people have been divided. [] he would learn the history of a party of perpetual opposition, constantly vilifying the administration of Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Jackson, and of the later Democratic Presidents, chameleonizing itself as often as its inflexible purpose of opposition required.
    • 1941, Radio Showmanship, Minneapolis, MN: Showmanship Publications, February, 1941, p. 67,[9]
      Morn Patrol originator Al Bland authors all the comedy patter, chameleonizes himself into a blackface character, “Mose.”
    • 2002, Jeremy Van Blommestein, A Racial Journey with Lived Identities: The Cumulative Experience of Individuals which Black-White Parentige in a White-Dominated Society, PhD Dissertation, University of Florida, Chapter 3, p. 66,[10]
      A logical question to ask is, why she is strying to convince society that she is white and at the same time also half-and-half. Perhaps this is the prerogative of individuals who are mixed because at times they have the ability to chameleonize themselves.
    • 2014, Bernadette A. Kutcher, “The Final Educational Degree: Life,” in Dale L. June (ed.), What they Didn’t Teach at the Academy: Topics, Stories, and Reality beyond the Classroom, Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, p. 16,[11]
      [] let me explain some of the ways I decided to chameleonize myself in order to slip through the watchful gaze of those who might prey on me for being a solo female traveler overseas.