from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of various small, tailed amphibians of the order Caudata, having porous scaleless skin and usually two pairs of limbs of equal size, found chiefly in northern temperate regions.
  • noun A mythical creature, generally resembling a lizard, believed capable of living in or withstanding fire.
  • noun In the occult philosophy of Paracelsus, a being having fire as its element.
  • noun An object, such as a poker, used in fire or capable of withstanding heat.
  • noun Metallurgy A mass of solidified material, largely metallic, left in a blast-furnace hearth.
  • noun A portable stove used to heat or dry buildings under construction.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A kind of lizard or other reptile formerly supposed to live in or be able to endure fire.
  • noun An imaginary or immaterial being of human form living in fire; an elemental of the fire; that one of the four classes of nature-spirits which corresponds to the element fire, the others being called sylphs, undines, and gnomes.
  • noun In zoology, a urodele batrachian, or tailed amphibian; a newt or an eft; a triton; especially, a terrestrial batrachian of this kind, not having the tail compressed like a fin, as distinguished from one of the aquatic kinds especially called newts or tritons; specifically, a member of the restricted family Salamandridæ. (See Salamandra.)
  • noun In heraldry, the representation of a four-legged creature with a long tail, surrounded by flames of fire. It is a modern bearing, and the flames are usually drawn in a realistic way.
  • noun The pocket-gopher of the South Atlantic and Mexican Gulf States, Geomys tuza or G. pinetis, a rodent mammal.
  • noun Same as bear, 7.
  • noun Anything used in connection with the fire, or useful only when very hot, as a culinary vessel, a poker, an iron used red-hot to ignite gunpowder, and the like.
  • noun A fire-proof safe.
  • noun A wire basket in which waste paper or other combustible refuse can be gathered by street-cleaners, and in which such waste can be burned.
  • noun A mass of solidified and infusible material in an iron blast- or other smelting-furnace hearth. It usually consists of wrought-iron.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Zoöl.) Any one of numerous species of Urodela, belonging to Salamandra, Amblystoma, Plethodon, and various allied genera, especially those that are more or less terrestrial in their habits.
  • noun (Zoöl.) The pouched gopher (Geomys tuza) of the Southern United States.
  • noun A culinary utensil of metal with a plate or disk which is heated, and held over pastry, etc., to brown it.
  • noun Prov. Eng. A large poker.
  • noun (Metal.) Solidified material in a furnace hearth.
  • noun (Zoöl.) See under Giant.
  • noun (Min.), [Obs.] a species of asbestos or mineral flax.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A long slender (usually) terrestrial amphibian, resembling a lizard and newt; taxonomic order Urodela
  • noun mythology A creature much like a lizard that is resistant to and lives in fire, hence the elemental being of fire.
  • noun cooking A metal utensil with a flat head which is heated and put over a dish to brown the top.
  • noun cooking In a professional kitchen a small broiler, used primarily for browning.
  • verb To apply a salamander (flat iron utensil above) in a cooking process.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun fire iron consisting of a metal rod with a handle; used to stir a fire
  • noun reptilian creature supposed to live in fire
  • noun any of various typically terrestrial amphibians that resemble lizards and that return to water only to breed


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English salamandre, from Old French, from Latin salamandra, from Greek.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French salamandre, from Latin salamandra, from Ancient Greek σαλαμάνδρα, of uncertain origin.


  • No one knows how the term salamander transferred from a mythical fire-dwelling monster to the small amphibious animals it applies to today, but I have a theory. News

  • The salamander was a mythical creature before it was a real one: the word salamander means a legendary lizard that both survived-in and could extinguish fire. News

  • The salamander is among 37 species found for the first in the time in wildlife reserve during a study of its amphibians and reptiles sponsored by the BRT programme.

    Archive 2006-12-01

  • My salamander is an amphibian, and amphibians are the ancestors of all the animals on earth, even you and your Cat, you sons of toads!

    It's Like This, Cat

  • We were apparently too late in the season for the annual mating migration of the spotted salamander, which is apparently a big event in Black Dog Hollow, but I did see a snake, a tiny thin garter snake that slithered quickly under the rocks when it felt the vibrations from my feet.

    Wildflowers and graffiti

  • We were apparently too late in the season for the annual mating migration of the spotted salamander, which is apparently a big event in Black Dog Hollow, but I did see a snake, a tiny thin garter snake that slithered quickly under the rocks when it felt the vibrations from my feet.

    Archive 2008-05-01

  • The electrical version of a salamander, which is the same thing burning gas. BROIL/GRILL.

  • Now the salamander is a clear case in point, to show us that animals do actually exist that fire cannot destroy; for this creature, so the story goes, not only walks through the fire but puts it out in doing so.

    The History of Animals

  • If the salamander was a prisoner, who had captured it?

    Alvin Journeyman

  • Abruptly he remembered that he'd come across something like it, called a salamander, in fiction once; the thing was supposed to be a spirit of fire, and dangerously destructive.

    The Sky Is Falling


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  • It was once thought that salamanders were immune to fire. I recall Augustine made mention of it in the City of God. He also said the peacock's flesh was incorruptable

    December 19, 2006

  • 'Ella! It speaks! It's a Pict and it speaks!'

    'Hold your hush or I'll lambast you with the salamander!' she shouted.

    —Joan Aiken, Black Hearts in Battersea

    3. Applied to various articles used in fire or capable of withstanding great heat.

    b. An iron or poker used red-hot for lighting a pipe, igniting gunpowder, etc.

    August 1, 2008

  • 'If you had seen him drink and smoke, as I did, you couldn`t have kept anything from him. He's a Salamander you know, that's what he is.'

    . . .

    Having revolved these things in his mind and arrived at this conclusion, he communicated to Mr Swiveller as much of his meditations as he thought proper (Dick would have been perfectly satisfied with less), and giving him the day to recover himself from his late salamandering, accompanied him at evening to Mr Quilp's house.

    The Old Curiosity Shop, ch. 23

    Two nearby quotes, the first being Dick Swiveller's explanation of the smoking and drinking habits of Mr Quilp, in which he had been compelled to join; the second is pleasing for the gerundial noun 'salamandering'.

    August 8, 2008

  • Nouns ending in -er always make me ponder over their roots. What is to gangst, to monst, or to salamand?

    May 20, 2009

  • salamander and monster are both reformed French -re endings. the suffix in 'gangster' is -ster, like in huckster (root: to hawk).

    May 20, 2009

  • In the sense of "a metal utensil with a flat head...," see usage/historical note on scalloped potatoes and on rarebit.

    January 16, 2017