# What is a chameleon word™?

This is in the spirit of the What is a Word™/Phrase™ series started by JLee with a special brand of Phrase™ and Word™ puzzles.

If a word conforms to a certain rule, I call it a Chameleon Word™. Use the following examples to find the rule:

$$% set Title text. (spaces around the text ARE important; do not remove.) % increase Pad value only if your entries are longer than the title bar. % \def\Pad{\P{0.0}} \def\Title{\textbf{ Chameleon }} % \def\S#1#2{\Space{#1}{20px}{#2px}}\def\P#1{\V{#1em}}\ \def\V#1{\S{#1}{9}} \def\T{\Title\textbf{Words }^™\Pad}\def\NT{\Pad\textbf{Not}\T\ }\displaystyle \smash{\lower{29px}\bbox[yellow]{\phantom{\rlap{rubio.2017.02.04}\S{6px}{0} \begin{array}{cc}\Pad\T&\NT\\\end{array}}}}\atop\def\V#1{\S{#1}{5}} \begin{array}{|c|c|}\hline\Pad\T&\NT\\\hline % \text{OURS}&\text{THEIRS}\\ \hline \text{COIN}&\text{BILL}\\ \hline \text{BITE}&\text{NIBBLE}\\ \hline \text{BRAS}&\text{KNICKERS}\\ \hline \text{CENT}&\text{DOLLAR}\\ \hline \text{TROMBONE}&\text{TRUMPET}\\ \hline \text{PETER}&\text{PAUL}\\ \hline \text{SINGE}&\text{BURN}\\ \hline \end{array}$$

CSV version:

Ours, Theirs
Coin, Bill
Bite, Nibble
Bras, Knickers
Cent, Dollar
Trombone, Trumpet
Peter, Paul
Singe, Burn

• Mon dieu! The BITE and PETER words are pretty much in line with the Kit-Ginevra hunour we've learned to love. :) – M Oehm Oct 6 '17 at 16:47
• @MOehm And this is without mentioning KNICKERS (niqueur) and BURN (burne)... – xhienne Oct 6 '17 at 16:56
• (I've updated the template in this and your Intermittent Words puzzles to the latest template version. the old version had some significant issues on some browsers/platforms which the latest addresses.) – Rubio Oct 6 '17 at 21:58

A Chameleon Word is

a word that is valid (and has different definitions) in both French and English.

Explanation

The French translations are:
ours = bear
coin = corner
bite = slang for male reproductive organ
bras = arms
cent = hundred
trombone = paperclip
peter = to fart
singe = monkey

It's called a Chameleon Word because

its definition can change based on its environment, similar to a chameleon's skin color.

• That was my first impression too, but DOLLAR is a perfectly valid French noun and PAUL is a French firstname. Then I was about to propose "French words that mean something completely different in English" but TROMBONE and CENT don't fit the definition either. – xhienne Oct 6 '17 at 17:46
• There is no language tag for this puzzle, for this answer to be valid. Is it not ? – Mea Culpa Nay Oct 6 '17 at 17:49
• Sorry, I'm not sure I understand why "French words that mean something completely different in English" doesn't work? It sure seems to me that trombone and cent fit – ColdFrog Oct 6 '17 at 20:02
• @ColdFrog We use the exact same words in French for TROMBONE (the instrument) and CENT (the money). To my knowledge, despite their common spelling, the other six chameleon words have no common meaning in French and in English. – xhienne Oct 6 '17 at 20:49
• Ohhhhhh, I see - my assumption was that the listed translations were the only one :P – ColdFrog Oct 6 '17 at 20:54

A Chameleon Word is

one that has one or more homophones(words that sound the same when pronounced, but have different spellings), whereas their counterparts are not.

That Is,

Ours - hours
Coin - quoin
Bite - byte
Trombone - to be explored...
Singe - synge
Bras - Brass
Cent - Scent
Peter - to be explored...

• What about Paul/pall? – benzene Oct 6 '17 at 18:23
• And theres/theirs? – Beastly Gerbil Oct 6 '17 at 18:32
• Ah too easy for the brilliant minds here! – Kit-Ginevra Oct 6 '17 at 20:55