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Chameleon   Listen
noun
Chameleon  n.  (Zool.)
1.
A lizardlike reptile of the genus Chamaeleo, of several species, found in Africa, Asia, and Europe. The skin is covered with fine granulations; it has eyes which can move separately, the tail is prehensile, and the body is much compressed laterally, giving it a high back. It is remarkable for its ability to change the color of its skin to blend with its surroundings. (Also sometimes spelled chamaeleon) Note: Its color changes more or less with the color of the objects about it, or with its temper when disturbed. In a cool, dark place it is nearly white, or grayish; on admitting the light, it changes to brown, bottle-green, or blood red, of various shades, and more or less mottled in arrangment. The American chameleons belong to Anolis and allied genera of the family Iguanidae. They are more slender in form than the true chameleons, but have the same power of changing their colors.
2.
A person who changes opinions, ideas, or behavior to suit the prevailing social climate; an opportunist.
Chameleon mineral (Chem.), the compound called potassium permanganate, a dark violet, crystalline substance, KMnO4, which in formation passes through a peculiar succession of color from green to blue, purple, red, etc. See Potassium permanganate, under Potassium.






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Chameleon" Quotes from Famous Books



... brief. The Yogis have discovered the reason of the wondrous capacity of the chameleon to assume the appearance of plumpness or of leanness. This animal looks enormous when his lungs are filled with air, but in his normal condition he is quite insignificant. Many other reptiles as well acquire the possibility of swimming across large rivers quite easily by ...
— From the Caves and Jungles of Hindostan • Helena Pretrovna Blavatsky

... dampness, too, was deadly—there were always puddles of water on the floor, and a sickening odor of moist flesh in the room. The people who worked here followed the ancient custom of nature, whereby the ptarmigan is the color of dead leaves in the fall and of snow in the winter, and the chameleon, who is black when he lies upon a stump and turns green when he moves to a leaf. The men and women who worked in this department were precisely the color of the ...
— The Jungle • Upton Sinclair

... type of chameleon-like girl whose vagaries and "sweet uncertainties" form the theme of many short stories, in most of which she is pictured as "the ...
— How to Analyze People on Sight - Through the Science of Human Analysis: The Five Human Types • Elsie Lincoln Benedict and Ralph Paine Benedict

... he had come, an Israelite, on whom the modern universe pressed, yet dreamed the old dream of a Jewish State—a modern State, incarnation of all the great principles won by the travail of the ages. The chameleon of races should show a specific color: a Jewish art, a Jewish architecture would be born, who knew? But he, who had worked for Mazzini, who had seen his hero achieve that greatest of all defeats, victory, he knew. He knew ...
— Dreamers of the Ghetto • I. Zangwill

... double, like the double-flowering almond or cherry,—the most exquisitely delicate little petals, seeming like lace-work. He had three specimens,—gave one to the Autocrat of Botany, who said it was almost or quite unexampled, and another to me. As the man in the fable says of the chameleon,—"I have it yet, ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 7, Issue 42, April, 1861 • Various

... Lazzi—imagining he holds a hatful of cherries, he seems eating them, and gaily flinging the stones at Scapin; or with a rueful countenance he is trying to catch a fly, and with his hand, in comical despair, would chop off the wings before he swallows the chameleon game. These, with similar Lazzi, harmonise with the remonstrance of Scapin, and re-animate it; and thus these "Lazzi, although they seem to interrupt the progress of the action, yet in cutting it they slide back into it, and connect or tie the whole." These Lazzi are ...
— Curiosities of Literature, Vol. II (of 3) - Edited, With Memoir And Notes, By His Son, The Earl Of Beaconsfield • Isaac D'Israeli

... myself this twenty years, But nothing of this kind in him appears; He, like a thorough true-bred spaniel, licks The hand which cuffs him, and the foot which kicks; He fetches and he carries, blacks my shoes, Nor thinks it a discredit to his Muse; 330 A creature of the right chameleon hue, He wears my colours, yellow or true blue, Just as I wear them: 'tis all one to him Whether I change through conscience, or through whim. Now this is something like; on such a plan A bard may ...
— Poetical Works • Charles Churchill

... wishing to be disagreeable, for Raleigh had to hint to Cobham that the Lieutenant might be blamed if it were discovered that letters were passing. Cobham shifted from hour to hour, and changed colour like a moral chameleon; Raleigh could not depend on him, nor even influence him. Meanwhile Cobham was transferred to the Tower, and now communication between the prisoners seemed almost impossible. However, the servant who was waiting upon Raleigh, a man named Cotterell, undertook ...
— Raleigh • Edmund Gosse

... faithful to Clarimonde. I loved her wildly. She would have excited satiety itself, and chained inconstancy. To have Clarimonde was to have twenty mistresses; ay, to possess all women: so mobile, so varied of aspect, so fresh in new charms was she all in herself—a very chameleon of a woman, in sooth. She made you commit with her the infidelity you would have committed with another, by donning to perfection the character, the attraction, the style of beauty of the woman who appeared to please you. She returned my love a hundred-fold, ...
— Clarimonde • Theophile Gautier

... as the green lizard, the fence lizard and the alligator lizard. It is called alligator lizard from its resemblance to a young alligator. This lizard is found in the southeastern United States from North Carolina to Florida. The common colors of the American Chameleon or the Anolis, which is its scientific name, are brown and green. These colors vary with conditions. When asleep, for instance, this little reptile is green above and white below, and when fighting or frightened it becomes green; at other times it is brown. Raymond ...
— Pathfinder - or, The Missing Tenderfoot • Alan Douglas

... but the truth, and then find a revision of the statement necessary to-day, I certainly am inconsistent. This jewel of consistency certainly loses its lustre, if not its identity, in such a process of shifting. I do hope these chameleon artists will leave us the multiplication table, the yardstick, and the ablative absolute. I'm not so particular about the wine-gallon, for prohibition will probably do away with that anyhow. When I was in school I could tell to a foot the equatorial ...
— Reveries of a Schoolmaster • Francis B. Pearson

... the holy slipper for a hundred of the smiles that hover round thy vermillion lips? Laughing lassie, if thou wouldst remain always fresh and young, weep no more; think of riding the brideless fleas, of bridling with the golden clouds thy chameleon chimeras, of metamorphosing the realities of life into figures clothed with the rainbow, caparisoned with roseate dreams, and mantled with wings blue as the eyes of the partridge. By the Body and the Blood, by the Censer and the Seal, by the Book and the Sword, by the Rag and the Gold, by the ...
— Droll Stories, Complete - Collected From The Abbeys Of Touraine • Honore de Balzac

... 'When they seek entrance into any place, they do not hesitate to make what promises may be demanded of them, possessing as they do the art of escape by lying with equivocations and mental reservations' (ib. vol. ii. p. 147). 'The Jesuit is a man of every color; he repeats the marvel of the chameleon' (ibid. p. 105). 'When they play a losing game, they yet rise winners from the table. For it is their habit to insinuate themselves upon any condition demanded, having arts enough whereby to make themselves masters of ...
— Renaissance in Italy, Volumes 1 and 2 - The Catholic Reaction • John Addington Symonds

... vital air, It was not the common chameleon fare Of plebeian lungs and noses,— No—her earliest sniff Of this world was a whiff Of the genuine ...
— The Poetical Works of Thomas Hood • Thomas Hood

... as his cousin's, the Englishman, whom it was not the fashion then to imitate. So that, whether in the hotel of a capital, the Kursaal of a Spa, or the humbler pension of a Swiss village, he was always characteristic. Less so was his wife, who, with the chameleon quality of her transplanted countrywomen, was already Parisian in dress; still less so his daughter, who had by this time absorbed the peculiarities of her French, German, and Italian governesses. Yet neither had yet learned to evade ...
— Tales of Trail and Town • Bret Harte

... veil for you, sir," he said. "You may take your chameleon color from your friends the Varicks and remain gray, or from the Butlers and turn red, or from the Schuylers and ...
— The Maid-At-Arms • Robert W. Chambers

... however, have a repulsive aspect, and are a yard in length. The iguana, peculiar to the New World tropics, is covered with minute green scales handed with brown (though it changes its color like the chameleon), and has a serrated back and gular pouch. It grows to the length of five feet, and is arboreal. Its white flesh, and its oblong, oily eggs, arc considered great delicacies. We heard of a lady who kept one as a pet. Frogs and toads, the chief musicians in the Amazonian forest, are ...
— The Andes and the Amazon - Across the Continent of South America • James Orton

... function—and I use this term to designate the faculty of changing color according to surroundings—is possessed by a number of the lower animals. The chameleon is the best known of all the tinctumutants (tinctus, color, and mutare, to change), though many other animals possess this faculty in a very marked degree. In order to understand the manner in which these changes or modifications of color take place, one ...
— The Dawn of Reason - or, Mental Traits in the Lower Animals • James Weir

... Sons of Belial,—which latter indeed are second-oldest, but yet a very unvenerable order. This, truly, seems the likeliest hypothesis of all. Names and appearances alter so strangely, in some half-score centuries; and all fluctuates chameleon-like, taking now this hue, now that. Thus much is very plain, and does not change hue: Landlord Edmund was seen and felt by all men to have done verily a man's part in this life-pilgrimage of his; and benedictions, and out-flowing love ...
— Past and Present - Thomas Carlyle's Collected Works, Vol. XIII. • Thomas Carlyle

... concluded that it was impossible to battle against destiny. For one never knew just how one was going to act. For a very chameleon was this strange Elizabeth, always the color of her surroundings. Being just ten-and-a-half, she would act with the wisdom of an ancient sage when in company with Mrs. MacAllister, and the foolishness of a spring lamb when left to gambol with her little ...
— 'Lizbeth of the Dale • Marian Keith

... this same is she. [POINTING TO CELIA.] Out, thou chameleon harlot! now thine eyes Vie tears with the hyaena. Dar'st thou look Upon my wronged face?—I cry your pardons, I fear I have forgettingly transgrest Against ...
— Volpone; Or, The Fox • Ben Jonson

... brigantine is called the Chameleon; Blue Beard recently placed it, very generously, at my service (through the mediation of Monsieur Morris, her man of business), to give chase to a Spanish pirate, and there is an old filibuster of a captain called Hurricane, who commands ...
— A Romance of the West Indies • Eugene Sue

... am sure it was an imp," Miss Sherwood said. "An imp or a very large chameleon; she was exactly ...
— The Gentleman From Indiana • Booth Tarkington

... a fine female form, hooded in a veil, which, chameleon-like, sported all colours. She held Virtue and Vice by the hands, and danced a trio with them. For music, a naked savage played upon an oaten pipe, a European philosopher scraped the fiddle, while an Asiatic beat the drum; and although ...
— Faustus - his Life, Death, and Doom • Friedrich Maximilian von Klinger

... of Murray did not involve Buchanan's fall. He had avenged it, as far as pen could do it, by that 'Admonition Direct to the Trew Lordis,' in which he showed himself as great a master of Scottish, as he was of Latin, prose. His satire of the 'Chameleon,' though its publication was stopped by Maitland, must have been read in manuscript by many of those same "True Lords;" and though there were nobler instincts in Maitland than any Buchanan gave him credit for, the satire breathed an honest indignation ...
— Health and Education • Charles Kingsley

... dear Quox, to my royal entertainment. Since you are here, you shall witness some very neat magic, and after I have finished with Files and Tik-Tok I mean to transform you into a tiny lizard—one of the chameleon sort—and you shall live in my cavern and ...
— Tik-Tok of Oz • L. Frank Baum

... of the book are common to all, according to the properties and conditions of lovers who are diversely wrought upon by fickle love."[615] Here and there some fine similes are found in which figure the chameleon, for instance, who was supposed to live on air alone, or the hawk: "Chameleon a proud creature is, that lives upon air without more; thus may I say in similar fashion only through the love hopes which I entertain is my soul's ...
— A Literary History of the English People - From the Origins to the Renaissance • Jean Jules Jusserand

... being unmentionable. This ancient tenet of theirs, indeed, is with such clearness emphasized in a luckily preserved fragment from the Dirghic, or pre-Ciceronian Latin, of Saevius Nicanor that the readiest way to illustrate the chameleon-like traits of literary indecency appears to be to record, as hereinafter is recorded, what of this ...
— Taboo - A Legend Retold from the Dirghic of Saevius Nicanor, with - Prolegomena, Notes, and a Preliminary Memoir • James Branch Cabell

... phoenix-fanciers are becoming rare. It is enough to say briefly, that if anyone wishes to understand the natural history of the basilisk, the griffin, the salamander, the cockatrice, or the amphisboena—if he wishes to know whether a chameleon lives on air, and an ostrich on horseshoes—whether a carbuncle gives light in the dark, whether the Glastonbury thorn bore flowers on Christmas-day, whether the mandrake 'naturally groweth under gallowses,' and shrieks 'upon eradication,'—on these ...
— Hours in a Library, Volume I. (of III.) • Leslie Stephen

... of Mrs. Lorraine's countenance, while Vivian was speaking, would have baffled the most cunning painter. Her complexion was capricious as the chameleon's, and her countenance was so convulsed that her features seemed of all shapes and sizes. One large vein protruded nearly a quarter of an inch from her forehead, and the dank light which gleamed in her tearful eye was like an unwholesome meteor ...
— Vivian Grey • The Earl of Beaconsfield

... and coming up to the time of his death, in which I find fifty-five newspaper articles written by him, of from one to three columns in length, presenting, in his own terse, humorous, glowing, vigorous, convincing way, all sides of this chameleon-hued question; now analyzing the amendment and the laws to enforce it, turning aside here to answer the cavil of some carping critic, then to demolish and bury some blatant political defender of the whisky element; arraigning the Governor, Senate ...
— Personal Recollections of Pardee Butler • Pardee Butler

... cards, a magnet, a dried chameleon, and other things necessary for her art. She told me to cross my left hand with a piece of money, and the magic ceremonies began. It was evident to me that she ...
— The World's Greatest Books, Vol VI. • Various

... thus fixed, it required great force to remove them. At other times they darted tail first, with the rapidity of an arrow, from one side of the pool to the other, at the same instant discolouring the water with a dark chestnut-brown ink. These animals also escape detection by a very extraordinary, chameleon-like power of changing their colour. They appear to vary their tints according to the nature of the ground over which they pass: when in deep water, their general shade was brownish purple, but when placed on the land, ...
— A Naturalist's Voyage Round the World - The Voyage Of The Beagle • Charles Darwin

... name— I knew John Smith, yet could not well identify the same. I knew him North, I knew him South, I knew him East and West— I knew him all so well I knew not which I knew the best. His eyes, I recollect, were gray, and black, and brown, and blue, And, when he was not bald, his hair was of chameleon hue; Lean, fat, tall, short, rich, poor, grave, gay, a blonde and a brunette— Aha, amid this London fog, John Smith, I see you yet; I see you yet, and yet the sight is all so blurred I seem To see you in composite, or as in a waking dream, Which ...
— John Smith, U.S.A. • Eugene Field

... the damned chameleon,' said Archie, with his hands in his eyes. 'Want father to take me ...
— Tenterhooks • Ada Leverson

... A chameleon-like wife might have her disadvantages, he thought, as he walked away after the talk with his god-mother; yet she would not be so apt as others to bore one with sameness. At nineteen she was charming; at twenty-five she ...
— The Bondwoman • Marah Ellis Ryan

... equilibrium; vacillation &c. (irresolution) 605; fluctuation, vicissitude; alternation &c. (oscillation) 314. restlessness &x. adj. fidgets, disquiet; disquietude, inquietude; unrest; agitation &c. 315. moon, Proteus, chameleon, quicksilver, shifting sands, weathercock, harlequin, Cynthia of the minute, April showers[obs3]; wheel of Fortune; transientness &c. 111[obs3]. V. fluctuate, vary, waver, flounder, flicker, flitter, flit, flutter, ...
— Roget's Thesaurus

... office door, he locked this adamantine, quibbling, frankly penurious, tyrannical man of business inside, and the chameleon does not change its color with greater ease than Sprudell took on another and distinct personality. On the instant he became the "good fellow," his pink face and beaming eyes radiating affability, conviviality, an all-embracing fondness for mankind, also a ...
— The Man from the Bitter Roots • Caroline Lockhart

... emphasis in the expression of traits already present. These minor changes occur as by-products of active response to the personality of the mate in many small daily contacts, and not as a result of exhortation. Nor are they necessarily permanent. A chameleon changes color easily to match its environment or temper of the moment, but a human being's more lasting change is ...
— The Good Housekeeping Marriage Book • Various

... made in travellers' books about the hotels of America seem to me as fallacious as most of the generalisations about this chameleon among nations. Some of the American hotels I stayed at were about the best of their kind in the world, others about the worst, others again about half-way between these extremes. On the whole, I liked the so-called "American system" ...
— The Land of Contrasts - A Briton's View of His American Kin • James Fullarton Muirhead

... of their worship. They worship many living creatures, such as the ape, the tiger, the elephant the horse, the ox, the stag, the sheep, the hog, the dog, the cat, the rat, the peacock, the eagle, the cock, the hawk, the serpent, the chameleon, the lizard, the tortoise, fishes, and even insects. Of these, some receive much more worship than others, such as the cow, the ox, and the serpent Cobra Capella. I will speak at present only of the worship ...
— Dr. Scudder's Tales for Little Readers, About the Heathen. • Dr. John Scudder

... cornice, and swaying tree-top with lanterns. The grand avenue was bridged by tri-coloured balloons floating and shimmering ghostlike far up in the dark sky. Above these, in the blacker zone toward the stars, the heavens were flashing sheets of chameleon flames from ...
— The Clansman - An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan • Thomas Dixon

... sandwich of fire. Everything was locked up; the coal-cellar, the candle-box, the salt-box, the meat-safe, were all padlocked. There was nothing that a beetle could have lunched upon. The pinched and meagre aspect of the place would have killed a chameleon. He would have known, at the first mouthful, that the air was not eatable, and must have given up the ghost ...
— The Old Curiosity Shop • Charles Dickens

... his "Symbolical Painting of the Four Elements," represents the sea by fishes, the earth by moles, fire by a salamander, and air by a camel! Evidently he mistook the chameleon (which traditionally lives on ...
— Character Sketches of Romance, Fiction and the Drama, Vol 1 - A Revised American Edition of the Reader's Handbook • The Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D.

... a guessing contest—impulsive today, he has to be repressed; phlegmatic tomorrow, he has to be stimulated; and he may be sanguine the next day. There never was a pleasanter boy to work with, but like the chameleon you are ...
— The Boy and the Sunday School - A Manual of Principle and Method for the Work of the Sunday - School with Teen Age Boys • John L. Alexander

... guest is naturally much more dependent on his host (or her hostess), but on the other hand, he or she is practically always a very intimate friend who merely adapts himself or herself like a chameleon to the customs and hours and diversions of ...
— Etiquette • Emily Post

... figure familiar enough to the company, and known in Simpson's Bar as "The Old Man." A man of perhaps fifty years; grizzled and scant of hair, but still fresh and youthful of complexion. A face full of ready, but not very powerful sympathy, with a chameleon-like aptitude for taking on the shade and color of contiguous moods and feelings. He had evidently just left some hilarious companions, and did not at first notice the gravity of the group, but clapped the shoulder of the nearest man jocularly, and threw himself ...
— Mrs. Skaggs's Husbands and Other Stories • Bret Harte

... veal, as a meat, is but little nourishing, is relaxing, and sufficiently difficult of digestion. Lending itself, as it does, he says, in all the flowery imagery of the French tongue and manner, "to so many metamorphoses, it may be called, without exaggeration, the chameleon of the kitchen. Who has not eaten calf's head au naturel, simply boiled with the skin on, its flavour heightened by sauce just a little sharp? It is a dish as wholesome as it is agreeable, and one that the most inexperienced ...
— The Book of Household Management • Mrs. Isabella Beeton

... of dogs, for instance, of bulls, asses, and many others being really excellent. Even rare animals, when by any chance he had secured a glimpse of them, are represented with the utmost care; such, for instance, is his chameleon, of which he gives a very good engraving, not long after careless Robert Greene had been writing ...
— The English Novel in the Time of Shakespeare • J. J. Jusserand

... power which has the greatest chance of electing their candidates; it matters not what party it may be, as Roman Catholicism has no politics, as her only desire is power, and it does not matter from what source she receives it, so long as it is granted her, as Romanism is like a chameleon, as she will change her political color to suit her surroundings if she is assured that she will be permitted to inject her deadly virus ...
— Thirty Years In Hell - Or, From Darkness to Light • Bernard Fresenborg

... succeeded in accumulating a considerable sum of money, but as he had tasted the bitter poison of destitution, and had for a very long time earned the heavy load of poverty upon his back, and fearing to lose his property by the chameleon-like changes of fortune, he took up his money on a certain night, carried it out of the city, and buried it under a tree. After some time had passed be began sorely to miss the presence of his treasure, and betook himself to the tree to refresh his eyes with ...
— Supplemental Nights, Volume 2 • Richard F. Burton

... ideas that seem to satisfy men, we find a remarkable complex, a disorderly complex, in the minds of nearly all our civilised contemporaries. For example, all sorts of aggregatory ideas come and go across the chameleon surfaces of my botanist's mind. He has a strong feeling for systematic botanists as against plant physiologists, whom he regards as lewd and evil scoundrels in this relation, but he has a strong feeling for all botanists, and, indeed, all biologists, as against ...
— A Modern Utopia • H. G. Wells

... obeying. He possessed exquisite tact in appreciating the characters of those far above him in rank and beneath him in intellect. He could accommodate himself with great readiness to the idiosyncrasies of sovereigns. He was a chameleon to the hand which fed him. In his intercourse with the King, he colored himself, as it were, with the King's character. He was not himself, but Philip; not the sullen, hesitating, confused Philip, however, but Philip ...
— The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1566 • John Lothrop Motley

... father, "you were never a great eater, Janie, but latterly you live, like the chameleon, on air. Surely your health cannot be good, with such a poor appetite;—your own ...
— Jane Sinclair; Or, The Fawn Of Springvale - The Works of William Carleton, Volume Two • William Carleton

... Pickwick would have been decided otherwise. Mr. Pell practised in the Insolvency Court. He "was a fat, flabby, pale man, in a surtout which looked green one moment, and brown the next, with a velvet collar of the same chameleon tints. His forehead was narrow, his face wide, his head large, and his nose all on one side, as if Nature, indignant with the propensities she observed in him at his birth, had given it an angry tweak which it had never recovered. Being ...
— The Law and Lawyers of Pickwick - A Lecture • Frank Lockwood

... afford an angler sport, but either live their time of being in the fresh water by their meat formerly got in the sea (not unlike the swallow or frog), or by the virtue of the fresh water only; or, as the birds of Paradise and the chameleon are said to live, by the sun ...
— The Best of the World's Classics, Restricted to prose. Volume III (of X) - Great Britain and Ireland I • Francis W. Halsey

... an automobile, and motored out to Potsdam. Then when we were outside the old Palace we heard that the Kaiser's "strong-for-peace" policy had been of no avail, that the Czar had insulted his messenger, and that now war was inevitable. We ourselves, chameleon-like, assumed the German colour. We believed what we were told, and felt sorry for the man who was called upon unwillingly to shed his nation's blood. On our way back to the hotel Kitty and I went to see Mr. Schermerhorn's cousin, Miss Barber, and then we realized the immediate ...
— An Account of Our Arresting Experiences • Conway Evans

... events of our lives are chameleon-hued: their colors vary according to the light by which we view them. Thus Eve, who the night before had seen nothing but happiness in the final arrangement between Adam and herself, awoke on the following morning with a feeling of dissatisfaction ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Volume 26, July 1880. • Various

... beginning with "M" in French history. Almost everybody in French history began with an "M," like the things that were drawn by the three little girls in the well), and even with the younger PITT. I have heard him spoken of as a charlatan, as a chameleon, as a chatterbox, and, by a man who had hoped that the KAISER would be hanged in Piccadilly Circus, as a chouser. Almost all of these estimates are thoroughly fallacious. Let us take, for instance, MACCHIAVELLI. It was the declared ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 159, November 10, 1920 • Various

... are the only persons of my acquaintance who resemble the chameleon, in being able to keep one eye directed upwards to heaven, and the other downwards to the good things of this world."—Alex. ...
— Lectures of Col. R. G. Ingersoll - Latest • Robert Green Ingersoll

... seemed to become aware of our presence, for, ceasing his contemplation of the sinking sun, he scanned us both with his slow, thoughtful eyes, which somehow reminded me of those of a chameleon, although they were not prominent, but, as I ...
— Child of Storm • H. Rider Haggard

... those which are more known, as well as those with which we are, by accident, less acquainted; and if they are all rejected, how will the reader be relieved from difficulties produced by allusions to the crocodile, the chameleon, the ichneumon, and the hyaena? If no plants are to be mentioned, the most pleasing part of nature will be excluded, and many beautiful epithets be unexplained. If only those which are less known are to be mentioned, who shall fix the limits of ...
— The Works of Samuel Johnson in Nine Volumes - Volume V: Miscellaneous Pieces • Samuel Johnson

... your pardon, sir," said I. "But, surely, if you are the young gentleman with whom I spent the hours yesterday, you have the chameleon art of changing your appearance; I never ...
— The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner • James Hogg

... to harmonise with changes in the environment or to correspond with the differences between the environment of different individuals." The seasonal change of colour in northern animals is a well-known instance of the former, and the chameleon's alterations of ...
— The Naturalist in Nicaragua • Thomas Belt

... excellent, with a precise detail. Everything about him was conspicuously correct in the English fashion. But the man was not English. One could not say from what race he came. Among the races of Southern Europe he could hardly have been distinguished. There was a chameleon quality ...
— The Sleuth of St. James's Square • Melville Davisson Post

... Emma told her husband-partner. "I can't help thinking of the story of the girl and the pet chameleon. What would happen if I were to forget myself some day and come down to work in black velvet ...
— Emma McChesney & Co. • Edna Ferber

... Sewell's presence before she unpacked her heart. Then she left nothing in it. She ended by saying, "I have examined and cross-examined Sibyl, but it's like cross-questioning a chameleon; she changed colour with every new light she was put into." Here Miss Vane had got sorrowfully back to something more of ...
— The Minister's Charge • William D. Howells

... better go to get fresh inspiration, to escape from the picture, from Viola, from myself. Away, I must get away. Coelum, non animum, mutant qui trans mare current is not always true. Our mind is but a chameleon and takes its hues ...
— Five Nights • Victoria Cross

... represented by large carpets of marine crystal, a little umbelliferous plant very good to pickle, which also bears the name of pierce-stone and sea-fennel. Conseil gathered some bundles of it. As to the fauna, it might be counted by thousands of crustacea of all sorts, lobsters, crabs, spider-crabs, chameleon shrimps, and a large number of shells, rockfish, and limpets. Three-quarters of an hour later we had finished our circuitous walk and were on board. The crew had just finished loading the sodium, and the Nautilus could have left that instant. But Captain Nemo gave no order. Did he wish to ...
— Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea • Jules Verne

... grin. Very little later he had an obscure biochemist hooked, and ended his instructions with: "... don't care if it needs concentrated essence of chameleon juice. Invent it. And it better work for there's going to be a total shortage of neo-hyperacth at two-twenty-eight ...
— Zero Data • Charles Saphro

... or endured to wear a Milesian mantle. For Alkibiades, among his other extraordinary qualities, had this especial art of captivating men by assimilating his own manners and habits to theirs, being able to change, more quickly than the chameleon, from one mode of life to another. The chameleon, indeed, cannot turn itself white; but Alkibiades never found anything, good or bad, which he could not imitate to the life. Thus at Sparta he was fond of exercise, frugal and severe; in Ionia, luxurious, frivolous, and lazy; in Thrace, he drank ...
— Plutarch's Lives, Volume I (of 4) • Plutarch

... Territories? I say, yes, I would discriminate in the Territories wherever it is needful to assert the right of citizens.... I have heard many a siren's song on this doctrine of non-intervention; a thing shadowy and fleeting, changing its color as often as the chameleon."[785] ...
— Stephen A. Douglas - A Study in American Politics • Allen Johnson

... little of the chameleon, and takes a different hue with every different companion; he is very attentive and officious, and somewhat sentimental, with Lady Lillycraft; copies out little namby-pamby ditties and love-songs for her, and draws quivers, and doves, and darts, and Cupids, ...
— Bracebridge Hall • Washington Irving

... current in Cape Town, 'the Blind Man,' was an ironical tribute to his exceptional astuteness in politics. His organ was 'the Afrikander Bond', a society formed partly for agricultural, partly for political purposes, a creature which like a chameleon has often changed its colour, sometimes working peacefully beside British politicians, at other times openly conducting an anti-British agitation. He certainly had no enthusiasm for the British flag, but he ...
— Victorian Worthies - Sixteen Biographies • George Henry Blore

... the pyramid; the lively pink reflection from the upper atmosphere; the vast variety of tints with which the greens and the reds, the purples and the fiery crimsons of the western sky tincture the receptive surface of the neutral-hued granites; and the chameleon-shiftings of the dying day, as it sinks into the arms of night. Nor less admirable are the feats of the fairy Refraction. The mighty curtain seems to rise and fall as if by magic: it imitates, as it were, the framework of man. In early morning the dancing of the air adds many a hundred ...
— The Land of Midian, Vol. 2 • Richard Burton

... a superabundance of that commodity among us, that we should think about exporting it? To the former question, the journal especially devoted to the subject has, to the best of our belief, never condescended a reply; although, like the celebrated argument on the colour of the chameleon, no two persons, perhaps, have the same idea of it. In what then, does civilisation consist, and how is it to be generally promoted? Does it, as Sir E.L. B—— would doubtlessly assure us, does it lie in a strict adherence to the last month's fashions; and is it to be propagated ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, Complete • Various

... polyphyletic. By the same adaptation to climbing trees the habit of grasping their branches with the feet has in many different cases brought about that opposition of the thumb or great toe to the other toes which makes the hand prehensile. We see this in the climbing lizards (chameleon), the birds, and the ...
— The Evolution of Man, V.2 • Ernst Haeckel

... suppose you would not, without this caution, have talked upon the same subject, and in the same manner, to a minister of state, a bishop, a philosopher, a captain, and a woman. A man of the world must, like the chameleon, be able to take every different hue; which is by no means a criminal or abject, but a necessary complaisance; for it relates only to manners and not ...
— The PG Edition of Chesterfield's Letters to His Son • The Earl of Chesterfield

... be as graceful, as easy? I would make a desperate effort to "assume a virtue if I had it not." I, too, sauntered elegantly, lifted my hat killingly, and approached my charmer just as if I didn't realize that I was turning all the colors of the chameleon. ...
— The Blunders of a Bashful Man • Metta Victoria Fuller Victor

... magic city—there were days of mists, silvery and gray, when life took on the indistinctness and indecision of a dream; as there were days less lucent, when sea and sky melted in an indistinguishable line and the chameleon tints of the marshes mellowed into a monotonous gray surface—when the wonted brilliancy of the sunset clouds, and the glittering domes and campaniles were only faint gray shadows on the gray whiteness of the waters. And gondoliers came suddenly into vision, parting the mists with ...
— A Golden Book of Venice • Mrs. Lawrence Turnbull

... seeing the two men together, she had turned to Gratton. Now, here in her father's log house in the mountains, she wondered that she could have done so. Did men change colour like chameleons, shifted from one environment to another? Or was it she who had been unstable, she who was the chameleon? A queer sensation which had been hers before, and which she was to know more than once in days to follow, mastered her. It seemed that within her, coexistent and for ever in conflict, there were two Glorias: a girl who was very young, spoiled, vain, and selfish; a ...
— The Everlasting Whisper • Jackson Gregory

... and know her, her wiles, her passion, her quick temper, her chameleon-like changes, her subtle charms of person and of word, and yet we have not reached the end of the first act. Next to Falstaff and to Hamlet, Cleopatra is the most astonishing piece of portraiture in all Shakespeare. Enobarbus gives the soul ...
— The Man Shakespeare • Frank Harris

... miscellanist of ability, and a verse-writer than whom many a worse has somehow or other obtained the name of poet. He began novel-writing very early (Falkland is of 1827), he continued it all his life, and he was the very Proteus-chameleon of the novel in changing his styles to suit the tastes of the day. He never exactly copied anybody: and in all his various attempts he went extremely near to the construction of masterpieces. In the novel of society with Pelham (1828); the novel of crime with Eugene Aram (1832) and ...
— The English Novel • George Saintsbury

... whether McGovern of Minnesota would make the first or second All-American, how to do the card-pass, how to do the coin-pass, chameleon ties, how babies were born, and whether Three-fingered Brown was really a better pitcher than ...
— This Side of Paradise • F. Scott Fitzgerald

... attention to the important services rendered to the stage by its mute performers, and demands their wider recognition. He ventures to hold that as much talent is necessary to constitute a tolerable figurant as to make a good actor. He describes the figurant as a multiform actor, a dramatic chameleon, compelled by the special nature of his occupation, or rather by its lack of special nature, to appear young or old, crooked or straight, noble or base-born, savage or civilised, according to the good pleasure of the dramatist. "Thus, when Tancred declaims, 'Toi, ...
— A Book of the Play - Studies and Illustrations of Histrionic Story, Life, and Character • Dutton Cook

... journey to be engaged in a warm dispute about the colour of the Chameleon. One of them affirmed that it was blue and that he had seen it with his own eyes upon the naked branch of a tree, feeding in the air on a very ...
— The Talking Beasts • Various

... truncatum) and also a "Gryllus" (Acridian), closely resembling the pebbles with which their locality was strewn. He says of both of these, "The intention of Nature, in these instances, seems to have been the same as when she gave to the Chameleon the power of accommodating its color, in a certain degree, to that of the object nearest to it, in order to compensate for the deficiency of its locomotive powers. By their form and colour, this insect may pass unobserved by those birds, which otherwise would soon extirpate ...
— Darwin and Modern Science • A.C. Seward and Others

... watch it for some time without being sure that it is moving at all; though its eyes, which can move in different directions at the same moment, and its long thin tongue, so clever at catching the insects on which it feeds, are constantly in motion; but for its eyes and tongue, the Chameleon looks as if it were as dead as the withered branch to which ...
— Twilight And Dawn • Caroline Pridham

... Boy. Gail Sherman Corbett How interested he is in the chameleon which has curiously crept up to see who it is that gazes ...
— Sculpture of the Exposition Palaces and Courts • Juliet James

... The American Chameleon or "Green" Lizard, which ranges in this country in the coastal regions from North Carolina to the Rio Grande River, has a remarkable power of changing the color of its skin through shades of brown, gray, and green. In fact, it ...
— Scouting For Girls, Official Handbook of the Girl Scouts • Girl Scouts

... the chameleon, another species of lizard, is still more curious. You must know that the chameleon is a lumbering lazy animal, who feeds on flies and other swift insects, and who would, therefore, be constantly liable to go without his dinner ...
— The History of a Mouthful of Bread - And its effect on the organization of men and animals • Jean Mace

... Orders His Tomb at Saint Praxed's Church Robert Browning Up at a Villa—Down in the City Robert Browning All Saints' Edmund Yates An Address to the Unco Guid Robert Burns The Deacon's Masterpiece Oliver Wendell Holmes Ballade of a Friar Andrew Lang The Chameleon James Merrick The Blind Men and the Elephant John Godfrey Saxe The Philosopher's Scales Jane Taylor The Maiden and the Lily John Fraser The Owl-Critic James Thomas Fields The Ballad of Imitation Austin Dobson The Conundrum of the Workshops ...
— The Home Book of Verse, Vol. 4 (of 4) • Various

... painted a hall, wherein were some figures of the Apostles and other saints in tabernacles, executed in terretta; and there he caused to be made by Giovanni da Udine, his disciple, who has no equal in the painting of animals, all the animals that Pope Leo possessed, such as the chameleon, the civet-cats, the apes, the parrots, the lions, the elephants, and other beasts even more strange. And besides embellishing the Palace greatly with grotesques and varied pavements, he also gave the designs for the Papal staircases, as well ...
— Lives of the Most Eminent Painters Sculptors and Architects - Vol. 04 (of 10), Filippino Lippi to Domenico Puligo • Giorgio Vasari

... I understood him aright. This person was still comely, though of uncertain age, wore cherry ribbons, smiled rather vacantly from vague, wonderful, indescribable eyes that seemed to change colour, like the chameleon, according to that ...
— Henry Brocken - His Travels and Adventures in the Rich, Strange, Scarce-Imaginable Regions of Romance • Walter J. de la Mare

... "Chameleon spirit—at once contributing to the misery of our existence and adding to its fancied bliss—at once detested and a charm, to be eschewed and to be practised—that, with thy mystic veil, dimmest the bright beauty of virtue, and concealest ...
— The King's Own • Captain Frederick Marryat

... black in one light, and white in another, for what I know. Of all fools the positive philosophers seem to me the worst; and the most abject kind of conceit is that of alleged consistency. Why will you insist on a definiteness which has so little place in nature? The world is a chameleon, and you and I ...
— A Pessimist - In Theory and Practice • Robert Timsol

... was a sleepy, bald-headed man upon whose shining, nodding, snoring pate several flies were resting in quiet enjoyment of the sermon. All at once, this toothsome collection attracted the attention of a very large bright-eyed chameleon admirer who launched himself through the air upon said bald head in pursuit of his dinner. With a yell of fear, the sleeper struck the animal with his huge hand, sending the long tailed frolicsome creature ...
— The Gentleman from Everywhere • James Henry Foss

... 1: Otherwise known as the "Hatherly Distillery," owned by a chameleon millionaire German-Jew, named Sammy Marks. Oh, that fine old Scotch whisky! The labels announcing this un-fact are, I understand, obtained from the Old Country and gummed on the bottles ...
— A Yeoman's Letters - Third Edition • P. T. Ross

... chameleon brother, will return her the compliment, some day," Adela said to herself, as she hurried back to her sisters, bearing a message for Cornelia. This lady required strong persuasion. A word from Adela: "He will think you have some ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... compass twenty crowns. Tut, I can smile, and murder when I smile; I cry content to that which grieves me most; I can add colours to the chameleon; And for a need change shapes with Proteus, And set the aspiring Cataline to school. Can I do this, and cannot get the crown? Tush, were it ten times higher, I'll ...
— The Critics Versus Shakspere - A Brief for the Defendant • Francis A. Smith

... not a chameleon; I cannot live on air; I can earn no money. The elements are against me—storms and shipwrecks follow me.... I have not found ...
— Daisy's Necklace - And What Came of It • Thomas Bailey Aldrich

... grim humor) Ftatateeta: daughter of a long-tongued, swivel-eyed chameleon, the Romans are at hand. (A cry of terror from the women: they would fly but for the spears.) Not even the descendants of the gods can resist them; for they have each man seven arms, each carrying seven spears. The ...
— Caesar and Cleopatra • George Bernard Shaw

... waved his hand. "Oh, ma'am, you are a chameleon. The other day you desired nothing better than monsieur's demise. Now at the news of it you grow venomous. I vow I cannot keep pace with your changes. I must withdraw from your intimacy. 'Tis too exacting for my poor vigour. Madame, your ...
— The Highwayman • H.C. Bailey

... polyhedric Peter, or a Peter with many sides. He changes colours like a chameleon, and his coat like a snake. He is a Proteus of a Peter. He was at first sublime, pathetic, impressive, profound; then dull; then prosy and dull; and now dull—oh so very dull! ...
— Peter Bell the Third • Percy Bysshe Shelley

... "No, she isn't grateful. People never are grateful for that sort of thing. And she doesn't even know she's different! I've had to train her without her own knowledge! But she's chameleon-like, in some ways, and she picks up a lot just from being ...
— Patty and Azalea • Carolyn Wells

... condition of the white colouring. Two other explanations have, however, been suggested: first, that the prevalent white of the arctic regions directly colours the animals, either by some photographic or chemical action on the skin, or by a reflex action through vision (as in the chameleon); secondly, that a white skin checks radiation and keeps the animals warm. But there are some exceptions to the rule of white colouring in arctic animals which refute these hypotheses, and confirm the author's. The sable remains brown throughout the winter; but ...
— Logic - Deductive and Inductive • Carveth Read

... distinguished Moors; old, white bearded fellows, in turbans and burnouse. Each of them offered a present of some kind. One of them brought a beautiful pair of Barbary pheasants, another a young wild pig in a crate; others, quaint arms, and one had a chameleon of a rare species, which he carried on the twig of a tree. An address of welcome to Morocco was read by one of their number and then they asked Paul he would not kindly walk on the water in the daylight for them as the soldiers had seen him do when he ...
— The Story of Paul Boyton - Voyages on All the Great Rivers of the World • Paul Boyton

... considering her length and breadth. It was as if her designer were trying to make a craft invisible at sea. As near as Madden could determine in the strange light, she was painted a pale sky-blue. During the day, no doubt, she melted into the sky like a chameleon. ...
— The Cruise of the Dry Dock • T. S. Stribling

... adaptation to its varying circumstances, which the tartan wanted. And it is certainly curious enough to find, in one of our commonest fishes, a property which used to be regarded as one of the standing marvels of the zoology of those remote countries of which the chameleon is a native. ...
— My Schools and Schoolmasters - or The Story of my Education. • Hugh Miller

... the sect of the AEolists possessed themselves with a dread and horror and hatred of two malignant natures, betwixt whom and the deities they adored perpetual enmity was established. The first of these was the chameleon, sworn foe to inspiration, who in scorn devoured large influences of their god, without refunding the smallest blast by eructation. The other was a huge terrible monster called Moulinavent, who with four strong arms waged eternal battle with all their divinities, dexterously turning to avoid ...
— A Tale of a Tub • Jonathan Swift

... told. Few could reach Berber; among fellow-students he was gay, amiable, up to a certain point even frivolous; then, as each companion in turn complained, a curtain seemed to drop, a colorless wrap of unintelligibility enveloped him like a chameleon's changing skin; the youth, as if he lived another life on another ...
— The Best Short Stories of 1920 - and the Yearbook of the American Short Story • Various

... invention should, one would think, have been spread widely in after time; but there appears to be some difficulty in developing muscles at the thin end of a long tail, for the animals that have turned it into a grasping organ are few and are widely scattered. Examples are the chameleon among lizards, our own little harvest mouse, and, pre-eminent above all, the American monkeys. To a howler, or spider-monkey, its long tail is a swing and a trapeze in its forest gymnasium. Humboldt saw (he says it) a cluster of them all ...
— Concerning Animals and Other Matters • E.H. Aitken, (AKA Edward Hamilton)

... languishing in lodgings there, and visited by all the town, except Fareham and his wife. De Malfort had lain for a fortnight at Lady Castlemaine's house, alternately petted and neglected by his fair hostess, as the fit took her, since she showed herself ever of the chameleon breed, and hovered betwixt angel and devil. His surgeon told him in confidence that when once his wound was healed enough to allow his removal, the sooner he quitted that feverish company the better it would be for his chance of a speedy convalescence. So, at the end of the second ...
— London Pride - Or When the World Was Younger • M. E. Braddon

... and Heb. "Salmandra" from Pers. Samandal (— dar—duk—dun, etc.), a Salamander, a mouse which lives in fire, some say a bird in India and China and others confuse with the chameleon (Bochart Hiero. Part ii. ...
— The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Volume 7 • Richard F. Burton

... thing that excited any attention being the continual renewal of the blood-stain on the library floor. This certainly was very strange, as the door was always locked at night by Mr. Otis, and the windows kept closely barred. The chameleon-like colour, also, of the stain excited a good deal of comment. Some mornings it was a dull (almost Indian) red, then it would be vermilion, then a rich purple, and once when they came down for family prayers, according to the simple rites of the Free American Reformed Episcopalian ...
— Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories • Oscar Wilde

... creatures, in infinite variety, flit about the bungalow, some with such gaudy spread of wing as to tempt pursuit. Large bronze and yellow beetles walk through the short grass with the coolness and gait of domestic poultry. Occasionally a chameleon turns up its bright eye, as though to take our measure. The redundancy of insect and reptile life is ...
— Foot-prints of Travel - or, Journeyings in Many Lands • Maturin M. Ballou

... voices and their skill in every kind of music—heroic or noisy, pathetic or whining, brave and obstreperous or feebly tender. A few minutes' consideration of the story as Wagner lays it before us, and the music he sets to it, will show that every character in the opera is an unhuman chameleon. It is not worth while spending the reader's time on an exhaustive analysis. We shall have enough to do of that kind of thing when we come to the beginning of Wagner's riper work, the Dutchman: time and space would only be wasted if we ...
— Richard Wagner - Composer of Operas • John F. Runciman

... mouth was full, and less intellectual than his other features." True again. But when our artist pronounces that "his eyes were large and blue" and that "his hair was auburn," I am naturally reminded of the fable of the "Chameleon":—"They're brown, Ma'am,—brown, I assure you!" The fact is, the lady was enchanted—and I cannot wonder at it—with the whole character of that beaming face; and "blue" and "auburn" being the favorite tints of the human front divine, ...
— Atlantic Monthly Volume 7, No. 39, January, 1861 • Various

... belongs entirely to the spectator, and depends upon the gift of vision he brings. There are no facts, like bricks, to build stories with. What, pray, in the realm of human life is a fact? By no means a stubborn thing, as the proverb pretends. On the contrary, a most pliant, shifting, chameleon-coloured thing, as flexible as figures in the hands of the statistician. What is commonly called a fact is merely a one-sided piece of information, a dead thing, not the series of complex, mutually inter-working relations that constitutes a fact as it exhibits itself to the literary vivisectionist. ...
— Without Prejudice • Israel Zangwill

... considerable literary talents, by which he was distinguished at Oxford; but he was so dreadfully afraid of passing for a pedant, that when he came into the company of the idle and the ignorant, he pretended to disdain every species of knowledge. His chameleon character seemed to vary in different lights, and according to the different situations in which he happened to be placed. He could be all things to all men—and to all women. He was supposed to be a favourite with the fair sex; and of all his various excellencies ...
— Tales and Novels, Vol. III - Belinda • Maria Edgeworth

... judgment with which to measure his dimensions. I only saw that he was tremendous and beautiful. His great, yard-wide fins gleamed royal purple. And the purple strips crossed his silver sides. He glowed in the water, changed color like a chameleon, and drifted, floated after us. I thought of my brother Reddy—how he would have gloried in that sight! I thought of Dilg, of Bob Davis, of Professor Kellogg—other great fishermen, all in a flash. Indeed, though I gloated over my fortune, I was not selfish. Then I threw in ...
— Tales of Fishes • Zane Grey

... prophecy declared that she would be, the apostasy of the latter times.(1005) It is a part of her policy to assume the character which will best accomplish her purpose; but beneath the variable appearance of the chameleon, she conceals the invariable venom of the serpent. "Faith ought not to be kept with heretics, nor persons suspected of heresy,"(1006) she declares. Shall this power, whose record for a thousand years is written in the blood ...
— The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan • Ellen G. White

... and the doves come here no longer, there are a thousand other birds flitting to and fro in their aerial city and chirping to each other. Two tiny squirrels have just run along a branch nearly over my head, in a desperate hurry apparently, their tails cocked over their backs, and a sky blue chameleon is standing on the trunk near where it parts. There is always a breeze in this great tree; the leaves are always moving, and there is a continuous rustle and murmur up there. A mango-tree and tamarind near by are quite ...
— The Soul of a People • H. Fielding

... gasteropodous (I think some new). I examined pretty accurately a Caryopyllia, and, if my eyes are not bewitched, former descriptions have not the slightest resemblance to the animal. I took several specimens of an Octopus which possessed a most marvellous power of changing its colours, equalling any chameleon, and evidently accommodating the changes to the colour of the ground which it passed over. Yellowish green, dark brown, and red, were the prevailing colours; this fact appears to be new, as far as I can find out. Geology and the ...
— The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Volume I • Francis Darwin



Words linked to "Chameleon" :   someone, individual, Rhiptoglossa, constellation, Chamaeleontidae, mortal, Chamaeleo oweni, American chameleon, family Chamaeleonidae, family Chamaeleontidae, somebody, Chamaeleo chamaeleon, Chamaeleonidae



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