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

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to undergo metamorphosis
: to become transformed
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 In the last 30 years my ideas around loss have been in a continuous state of metamorphosing. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, 5 Apr. 2024 In the sphere of luxury travel, the rules of the game continue to metamorphose. Paul Jebara, Town & Country, 5 Sep. 2023 In many of these sculptures, trees spread and metamorphose into protective umbrellas that are rendered as exquisite, fanning patterns. Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, 14 Aug. 2023 The data offers opportunities to compare the development of nervous systems in animals that metamorphose and those that don’t. Yasemin Saplakoglu, Quanta Magazine, 26 July 2023 Alternatively, fossils sometimes appear in slabs of stone that are in the middle of metamorphosing. Sam Walters, Discover Magazine, 28 Mar. 2023 In 2006, a decade after The Score catapulted him from the basement of Jean’s mother-in-law’s house in Newark to homes in Beverly Hills and Manhattan, Pras the rapper metamorphosed into Pras the documentary filmmaker. Michael Ames, Rolling Stone, 12 Mar. 2023 Across two decades, the working group metamorphosed from an overwhelmingly American assemblage into an international one. Manvir Singh, The New Yorker, 20 Feb. 2023 Until recently these hatchling larvae would metamorphose, first into pupae and then into their six-legged, winged adult phase. Paighten Harkins, The Salt Lake Tribune, 22 Nov. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'metamorphose.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1576, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of metamorphose was in 1576

Dictionary Entries Near metamorphose

Cite this Entry

“Metamorphose.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


meta·​mor·​phose ˌmet-ə-ˈmȯr-ˌfōz How to pronounce metamorphose (audio)
metamorphosed; metamorphosing
: to change or cause to change in form : go through metamorphosis

Medical Definition


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

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