Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The limbless aquatic larva of a frog or toad, having gills and a long flat tail. As the tadpole approaches the adult stage, legs and lungs develop, and the tail gradually disappears. Also called polliwog.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A young toad or frog in its larval stage of development that lives in water, has a tail and no legs, and, like a fish, breathes through gills.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The young aquatic larva of any amphibian. In this stage it breathes by means of external or internal gills, is at first destitute of legs, and has a finlike tail. Called also polliwig, polliwog, porwiggle, or purwiggy.
  • n. The hooded merganser.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The larva of a batrachian, as a frog or toad, from the time it leaves the egg until it loses its gills and tail.
  • n. The hooded merganser, Lophodytes cucullatus: doubtless so called from the apparent size of the head. See the quotation under moss-head.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a larval frog or toad

Etymologies

Middle English taddepol : tadde, tode, toad; see toad + pol, head; see poll.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, tad ("toad") and poll ("head"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • That little message from tadpole is exactly why this last leg is SO worth it.

    impatience

  • I love the photo of the king and queen, tadpole is so sweet!

    fickle

  • I missed your little tadpole from the slide show. pchenge |

    Sunday papers

  • It is usually thought to be a clipping of tadpole, though it could also be a dialectal variant of toad (from which the first element in tadpole is itself derived), which has also been used as a humorous term of address for a small boy.

    Archive 2008-11-01

  • An unknown for tadpole is a brilliant idea as well.

    épanouie

  • My tadpole is 25 and I wish I had recordings of our conversations at that early age.

    the tadpole interviews #1

  • A catepillar, a maggot and a tadpole is still an individual life, regardless of its stage of development.

    Think Progress » 128.

  • You say tadpole is French “first and foremost” – I hope you can ensure that she gets “the best of British” though witho

    the end of the affair?

  • Pineal extract caused these cells to contract in tadpole skin and in certain other reptiles which change their skin color in response either to mood or environmental setting.

    LSD and the Third Eye

  • Here a very young mother, accompanied by a very small tadpole, is ordering name-tapes for his first school outfit.

    Try Anything Twice

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