Chameleon (Greek Word of the Week)

Perhaps there are a few of you in this club cultured enough to understand the link between the pic on the left and this week’s Greek WOTW. In case you’re a man without conviction or a man who doesn’t know, read on and learn.

Chameleon comes from two Greek roots: χαμαι and λεων. The latter is clear enough; we get our word lion from it, as well as the name Leon. The former, χαμαί, is an adverb that means ‘to/on the ground.’ Literally, then, the chameleon is a dirt-lion. Not sure exactly why you would call this lovable little creature that, but there you have it.



χᾰμαι-λέων, οντος, ὁ, chameleon, Chamaeleo vulgaris, Arist. HA503a15, Plin.HN8.120, Lib.Or.1.249; used as an image of changefulness, Arist.EN1100b6Plu.Alc.23.II. name of various plants, so called from their leaves changing colour, Thphr. HP6.; χ. λευκός pine-thistle, Atractylis gummifera, Dsc.3.8; χ. μέλας,Cardopatium corymbosum, ib.9, Plin. HN22.47.

And that, dear readers, in red, gold and green, is this week’s Greek word of the week.

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1 Response to Chameleon (Greek Word of the Week)

  1. Paul Nitz says:

    ἥ ἔρχεται, ἥ ἕρχεται…..

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