One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A long-tailed green lizard, Lacerta lepida (family Lacertidae), of southern Europe and north-west Africa, juveniles of which are marked with black-centred eyespots and adults often with large blue spots on the flanks.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Samuel Goodrich (1793–1860). After scientific Latin Lacerta ocellata; compare French lézard ocellé.
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