Definition of polliwog in English:


(also pollywog)


North American
  • A tadpole.

    • ‘I would get my boys out of the classroom, and we'd be in a field all day long chasing tadpoles and pollywogs and looking at swamp water.’
    • ‘But pollywogs must grow legs, lose a tail, and completely reconfigure their jaws and digestive tract to prepare for a life of eating flies.’
    • ‘Douglas Florian's lizards, frogs, and polliwogs pairs primal yet sophisticated watercolors with clever poems that subtly instruct on the nature of amphibians.’
    • ‘Throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, American school children planted and tended gardens, watched polliwogs develop into frogs, tamed and bred animals, and learned to identify trees.’
    • ‘Visitors are especially intrigued by the large frog pond, complete with real frogs, pollywogs, bog plants, bulrushes, pickerel and water lilies, adjacent to the winery tasting room and cellars.’


Late Middle English (earlier as pollywiggle): from poll in the sense head + the verb wiggle.