Summary: The Greek word for ‘tadpole’ is γυρῖνος. Not everyone seems to have known
this, or cared. The history of the use of this word is traced in reverse chronological order,
from the Byzantine period to the time of its first attested use, in Plato. Later authors (Tzetzes,
Psellus and Libanius) misused the word as a result of misreading what they found in
earlier literary texts, seemingly their sole source of information regarding both the word and
the creature to which it refers. Finally, an attempt will be made to enhance our appreciation
of Plato’s lone reference to tadpoles at Theaetetus 161d.