chamelion

\ \ [14] Etymologically, a chamelion is a ‘ground lion’. The word comes from Greek khamailéōn, a compound formed from khamaíon the ground’ (English humus and humble are related to it) and léōnlion’. Until the 19th century the word was usually spelled camelion, which led to popular association of the first element with camel; this is turn encouraged an identification with camelopard, a now obsolete word for ‘giraffe’, and in the 14th and 15th centuries camelion was used for ‘giraffe’.
\ \ Cf.HUMBLE, HUMUS, LION

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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