An amphibian is a cold-blooded vertebrate animal that is born in water and breathes with gills. As the larva grows into its adult form, the animal's lungs develop the ability to breathe air, and the animal can live on land. Frogs, toads, and salamanders are all amphibians.

The word amphibian comes from the Greek word amphibios, which means "to live a double life." The noun amphibian has its roots in the words amphi, meaning "of both kinds," and bios, meaning "life." The word is used for the class of animals that spend part of their lives in water and part on land. The word can also be used as an adjective to describe the animals that live this way. You might be interested to know that the largest amphibian weighs about 140 pounds and the smallest weighs only a few grams.

Primary Meanings of amphibian

cold-blooded vertebrate typically living on land but breeding in water; aquatic larvae undergo metamorphosis into adult form
relating to or characteristic of animals of the class Amphibia
a flat-bottomed motor vehicle that can travel on land or water
Full Definitions of amphibian

n cold-blooded vertebrate typically living on land but breeding in water; aquatic larvae undergo metamorphosis into adult form

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Hynerpeton bassetti
fossil amphibian of the Devonian having well-developed forelimbs; found in Pennsylvania
early tetrapod amphibian found in Greenland
caudate, urodele
amphibians that resemble lizards
any of various typically terrestrial amphibians that resemble lizards and that return to water only to breed
anuran, batrachian, frog, salientian, toad, toad frog
any of various tailless stout-bodied amphibians with long hind limbs for leaping; semiaquatic and terrestrial species
blindworm, caecilian
any of the small slender limbless burrowing wormlike amphibians of the order Gymnophiona; inhabit moist soil in tropical regions
an amphibian of the superorder Labyrinthodontia
European fire salamander, Salamandra salamandra
a kind of European salamander
Salamandra maculosa, fire salamander, spotted salamander
European salamander having dark skin with usually yellow spots
Salamandra atra, alpine salamander
ovoviviparous amphibian of the Alps
newt, triton
small usually bright-colored semiaquatic salamanders of North America and Europe and northern Asia
ambystomid, ambystomid salamander
small to moderate-sized terrestrial or semiaquatic New World salamander
Cryptobranchus alleganiensis, hellbender, mud puppy
large salamander of North American rivers and streams
Megalobatrachus maximus, giant salamander
large (up to more than three feet) edible salamander of Asia
Proteus anguinus, olm
European aquatic salamander with permanent external gills that lives in caves
Necturus maculosus, mud puppy
aquatic North American salamander with red feathery external gills
dicamptodon, dicamptodontid
salamanders found near cold streams throughout the year
Dicamptodon ensatus, Pacific giant salamander
large (to 7 inches) salamander of western North America
Rhyacotriton olympicus, olympic salamander
small large-eyed semiaquatic salamander of the United States Northwest
lungless salamander, plethodont
mostly terrestrial salamanders that breathe through their thin moist skin; lay eggs in moist places on land; rarely enter water
Plethodon cinereus, eastern red-backed salamander
common salamander of eastern North America
Plethodon vehiculum, western red-backed salamander
salamander of the Pacific coast of North America
dusky salamander
common North American salamander mottled with dull brown or greyish-black
climbing salamander
any of several North American salamanders adapted for climbing with well-developed limbs and long somewhat squared-off toes
slender salamander, worm salamander
any of several small slim salamanders of the Pacific coast of the United States
web-toed salamander
any of several salamanders with webbed toes and very long extensile tongues; excellent climbers that move with ease over smooth rock surfaces
amphiuma, blind eel, congo eel, congo snake
aquatic eel-shaped salamander having two pairs of very small feet; of still muddy waters in the southern United States
eellike aquatic North American salamander with small forelimbs and no hind limbs; have permanent external gills
ranid, true frog
insectivorous usually semiaquatic web-footed amphibian with smooth moist skin and long hind legs
leptodactylid, leptodactylid frog
toothed frogs: terrestrial or aquatic or arboreal
robber frog
small terrestrial frog of tropical America
Hylactophryne augusti, barking frog, robber frog
of southwest United States and Mexico; call is like a dog's bark
Leptodactylus pentadactylus, South American bullfrog, crapaud
large toothed frog of South America and Central America resembling the bullfrog
tree frog, tree-frog
any of various Old World arboreal frogs distinguished from true frogs by adhesive suckers on the toes
Ascaphus trui, bell toad, ribbed toad, tailed frog, tailed toad
western North American frog with a taillike copulatory organ
Liopelma hamiltoni
primitive New Zealand frog with four unwebbed toes on forefeet and five on hind feet
true toad
tailless amphibian similar to a frog but more terrestrial and having drier warty skin
Alytes obstetricans, midwife toad, obstetrical toad
European toad whose male carries the fertilized eggs wrapped around its hind legs until they hatch
Alytes cisternasi, midwife toad
similar in habit to Alytes obstetricians
Bombina bombina, fire-bellied toad
toad of central and eastern Europe having red or orange patches mixed with black on its underside
spadefoot, spadefoot toad
a burrowing toad of the northern hemisphere with a horny spade-like projection on each hind foot
tree frog, tree toad, tree-frog
arboreal amphibians usually having adhesive disks at the tip of each toe; of southeast Asia and Australia and America
Gastrophryne olivacea, western narrow-mouthed toad
small secretive toad with smooth tough skin of central and western North America
Gastrophryne carolinensis, eastern narrow-mouthed toad
small toad of southeastern United States
sheep frog
mostly of Central America
tongueless frog
almost completely aquatic frog native to Africa and Panama and northern South America
South American poison toad
a South American toad
Type of:
craniate, vertebrate
animals having a bony or cartilaginous skeleton with a segmented spinal column and a large brain enclosed in a skull or cranium

adj relating to or characteristic of animals of the class Amphibia


n a flat-bottomed motor vehicle that can travel on land or water

amphibious vehicle
marsh buggy, swamp buggy
an amphibious vehicle typically having four-wheel drive and a raised body
Type of:
automotive vehicle, motor vehicle
a self-propelled wheeled vehicle that does not run on rails

n an airplane designed to take off and land on water

amphibious aircraft
Type of:
aeroplane, airplane, plane
an aircraft that has a fixed wing and is powered by propellers or jets

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