- The definition of a tadpole is the young stage of an amphibian, it lives in water, has a tail and breaths through gills.
An example of a tadpole is the stage a toad is in before it gets legs and lungs for breathing outside of the water.
A single tadpole.
- the larva of certain amphibians, as frogs and toads, having gills and a tail and living in water: as it matures, the gills usually are lost and legs develop
- the free-swimming larval stage of tunicates, having gill slits and a notochord
Origin of tadpoleMiddle English taddepol ; from tadde, toad + poll, head, hence, toad that seems all head
Origin of tadpoleMiddle English taddepol : tadde, tode, toad; see toad + pol, head; see poll. Word History: The word tadpole, which first appears in English in the 1400s, is an old compound word whose meaning is no longer transparent. Tad is a variant of the word toad, while pole is simply an alternative spelling of poll, meaning “head.” Tadpole thus means “a toad that is all head,” so to speak. Nowadays, the original meaning of the word poll, “head,” is most prominent in poll tax, “a tax consisting of a fixed amount and levied on all individuals,” a kind of tax that also often used to be called a head tax. (In modern times, poll taxes are most often levied on adults eligible to vote.) The most common senses of poll today are probably “a survey of public opinion” and “the place where votes are cast.” The word probably developed these senses at least partly through the notion of the head as the most prominent part of each individual in a crowd—the part that could be counted. A similar notion is found in the phrase “a head of cattle.”
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egg and three stages of a tadpole metamorphosing into a frog