meta·​mor·​phose | \ ˌme-tə-ˈmȯr-ˌfōz How to pronounce metamorphose (audio) , -ˌfōs \
metamorphosed; metamorphosing

Definition of metamorphose

transitive verb

1a : to change into a different physical form especially by supernatural means
b : to change strikingly the appearance or character of : transform
2 : to cause (rock) to undergo metamorphism

intransitive verb

1 : to undergo metamorphosis
2 : to become transformed

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for metamorphose

transform, metamorphose, transmute, convert, transmogrify, transfigure mean to change a thing into a different thing. transform implies a major change in form, nature, or function. transformed a small company into a corporate giant metamorphose suggests an abrupt or startling change induced by or as if by magic or a supernatural power. awkward girls metamorphosed into graceful ballerinas transmute implies transforming into a higher element or thing. attempted to transmute lead into gold convert implies a change fitting something for a new or different use or function. converted the study into a nursery transmogrify suggests a strange or preposterous metamorphosis. a story in which a frog is transmogrified into a prince transfigure implies a change that exalts or glorifies. joy transfigured her face

Examples of metamorphose in a Sentence

a science fiction story in which radiation metamorphoses people into giant bugs
Recent Examples on the Web The most aggressive caterpillars were the oldest ones, which were almost ready to metamorphose into butterflies. Washington Post, "These caterpillars aren’t just hungry, they’re hangry," 22 Dec. 2020 Cicadas can take 17 years to metamorphose into adulthood, spending most of that time underground. Liz Langley, National Geographic, "How a caterpillar becomes a butterfly: Metamorphosis, explained," 11 Aug. 2020 But when protests over the killing of an unarmed black man by police metamorphose into an inchoate revolutionary movement, the original object of righteous indignation has a curious way of fading from view. Matthew Walther, TheWeek, "Requiem for CHAZ," 2 July 2020 That heat metamorphosed a surface layer of the asteroid, which was then pulverized and redistributed by small impact events. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "Incredible video shows Hayabusa2 pogo-bouncing off asteroid," 7 May 2020 What started as a hobby became a business, as the items accumulating in a nuclear bunker that his daughter Agne Urbaityte had used as a contemporary dance studio in Lithuania metamorphosed over the years into a museum. Robert P. Walzer, WSJ, "Cold War Cloak and Dagger Comes to New York," 16 Jan. 2019 Originally a simpler, semi-satirical mashup of horror movie, police procedural and soap opera tropes, the series metamorphosed into a funhouse mirror of such current fixations as screens and nostalgia. Judy Berman, Time, "The 10 Best TV Shows of the 2010s," 15 Nov. 2019 Phoenix, who lost 50 pounds for the role, takes several opportunities to show us Arthur’s bony backside: There hasn’t been such a disturbing physique since Jeff Goldblum started metamorphosing into a fly. Tom Gliatto,, "Joker Review: Joaquin Phoenix Isn't Clowning Around as the Terrifying Batman Villain," 2 Oct. 2019 But the underlying principle—that mass shootings should be covered more responsibly by news outlets—has metamorphosed into a damnatio memoriae approach towards those who commit them. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "It’s OK to Talk About Mass Shooters," 5 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'metamorphose.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of metamorphose

1576, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for metamorphose

probably from Middle French metamorphoser, from metamorphose metamorphosis, from Latin metamorphosis

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about metamorphose

Time Traveler for metamorphose

Time Traveler

The first known use of metamorphose was in 1576

See more words from the same year

Statistics for metamorphose

Last Updated

6 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Metamorphose.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for metamorphose


How to pronounce metamorphose (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of metamorphose

: to change in an important and obvious way into something that is very different : to undergo metamorphosis


intransitive verb
meta·​mor·​phose | \ -ˌfōz, -ˌfōs How to pronounce metamorphose (audio) \
metamorphosed; metamorphosing

Medical Definition of metamorphose

: to undergo metamorphosis

More from Merriam-Webster on metamorphose

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for metamorphose

Nglish: Translation of metamorphose for Spanish Speakers

Comments on metamorphose

What made you want to look up metamorphose? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!