Last modified on 12 September 2014, at 09:37



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a salamander (amphibian)


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



salamander (plural salamanders)

  1. A long, slender, chiefly terrestrial amphibian of the order Caudata, resembling a lizard or a newt.
    • 1672, Thomas Browne, Pseudodoxia Epidemica, 1852, Simon Wilkin (editor), The Works of Sir Thomas Browne, Volume 1, page 292,
      [] and most plainly Pierius, whose words in his hieroglyphicks are these: "Whereas it is commonly said that a salamander extinguisheth fire, we have found by experience that it is so far from quenching hot coals, that it dyeth immediately therein."
    • 2012 January 1, Douglas Larson, “Runaway Devils Lake”, American Scientist, volume 100, number 1, page 46: 
      Devils Lake is where I began my career as a limnologist in 1964, studying the lake’s neotenic salamanders and chironomids, or midge flies. […] The Devils Lake Basin is an endorheic, or closed, basin covering about 9,800 square kilometers in northeastern North Dakota.
  2. (mythology) A creature much like a lizard that is resistant to and lives in fire, hence the elemental being of fire.
    • 1920, Peter B. Kyne, The Understanding Heart, Chapter XI
      “Not a chance, Ranger,” Bob Mason was speaking. “This little cuss is a salamander. He's been travelling through fire all day and there isn't a blister on him. …”
  3. (cooking) A metal utensil with a flat head which is heated and put over a dish to brown the top.
    • 1977, Richard Daunton-Fear, Penelope Vigar, Australian Colonial Cookery (discussing 19th century cookery), Rigby, 1977, ISBN 0-7270-0187-6, page 41,
      The salamander, a fairly long metal utensil with a flat rounded head, was left in the fire until red hot and then used to brown the top of a dish without further cooking.
  4. (cooking) A small broiler, used in professional cookery primarily for browning.
    The chef first put the steak under the salamander to sear the outside.
  5. The pouched gopher, Geomys tuza, of the southern United States.
  6. (UK, obsolete) A large poker.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Halliwell to this entry?)
  7. (metallurgy) Solidified material in a furnace hearth.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.


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salamander (third-person singular simple present salamanders, present participle salamandering, simple past and past participle salamandered)

  1. To use a salamander (flat iron utensil) in a cooking process.
    • 19th c, A 19th century recipe quoted in 1977, Richard Daunton-Fear, Penelope Vigar, Australian Colonial Cookery, Rigby, ISBN 0-7270-0187-6, page 41,
      When cold, sprinkle the custard thickly with sugar and salamander it.




salamander m (plural salamanders, diminutive salamandertje n)

  1. salamander