metamorphosis

noun meta·mor·pho·sis \ ˌme-tə-ˈmȯr-fə-səs \

Definition of metamorphosis

plural metamorphoses play \-ˌsēz\
1 a :change of physical form, structure, or substance especially by supernatural means
  • the metamorphosis of humans into animals
b :a striking alteration in appearance, character, or circumstances
  • The company has gone through a series of metamorphoses.
2 :a typically marked and more or less abrupt developmental change in the form or structure of an animal (such as a butterfly or a frog) occurring subsequent to birth or hatching
  • the metamorphosis of caterpillars into butterflies

Examples of metamorphosis in a Sentence

  1. We have watched her metamorphosis from a shy schoolgirl into a self-confident businesswoman.

  2. a company that has gone through a series of metamorphoses

  3. The government has undergone political metamorphosis since his election.

  4. the metamorphosis of tadpoles into frogs

  5. The class learned about how caterpillars undergo metamorphosis to become butterflies.

Recent Examples of metamorphosis from the Web

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

Did You Know?

Many ancient myths end in a metamorphosis. As Apollo is chasing the nymph Daphne, she calls on her river-god father for help and he turns her into a laurel tree to save her. Out of anger and jealousy, the goddess Athena turns the marvelous weaver Arachne into a spider that will spin only beautiful webs. But natural substances may also metamorphose, or undergo metamorphosis. Heat and pressure over thousands of years may eventually turn tiny organisms into petroleum, and coal into diamonds. And the most beloved of natural metamorphoses (notice how this plural is formed) is probably the transformation of caterpillars into butterflies.

Origin and Etymology of metamorphosis

Latin, from Greek metamorphōsis, from metamorphoun to transform, from meta- + morphē form

Other Insect Terms


METAMORPHOSIS Defined for English Language Learners

metamorphosis

noun

Definition of metamorphosis for English Language Learners

  • : a major change in the appearance or character of someone or something

  • biology : a major change in the form or structure of some animals or insects that happens as the animal or insect becomes an adult


METAMORPHOSIS Defined for Kids

metamorphosis

noun meta·mor·pho·sis \ ˌme-tə-ˈmȯr-fə-səs \

Definition of metamorphosis for Students

plural metamorphoses \-fə-ˌsēz\
1 :a great change in appearance or character
2 :the process of great and usually rather sudden change in the form and habits of some animals during transformation from an immature stage (as a caterpillar) to an adult stage (as a butterfly)

Medical Dictionary

metamorphosis

noun meta·mor·pho·sis \ ˌmet-ə-ˈmȯr-fə-səs \

medical Definition of metamorphosis

plural metamorphoses play \-ˌsēz\
1 :change of physical form, structure, or substance
2 :a marked and more or less abrupt developmental change in the form or structure of an animal (as a butterfly or a frog) occurring subsequent to birth or hatching


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