metamorphosis

noun
meta·​mor·​pho·​sis | \ ˌme-tə-ˈmȯr-fə-səs How to pronounce metamorphosis (audio) \
plural metamorphoses\ ˌme-​tə-​ˈmȯr-​fə-​ˌsēz How to pronounce metamorphosis (audio) \

Definition of metamorphosis

1a : 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

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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.

Examples of metamorphosis in a Sentence

We have watched her metamorphosis from a shy schoolgirl into a self-confident businesswoman. a company that has gone through a series of metamorphoses The government has undergone political metamorphosis since his election. the metamorphosis of tadpoles into frogs The class learned about how caterpillars undergo metamorphosis to become butterflies.
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Recent Examples on the Web Still, in her role as Susan Carpenter-McMillan, Paula Jones’s glamorous legal advisor, Light’s metamorphosis makes for one of her most memorable performances in a Murphy show yet. Vogue, 9 Sep. 2021 But, even with careful calculation, the details of firefly metamorphosis can be difficult to precisely predict. Leigh Ann Henion, Washington Post, 7 Sep. 2021 Many Arab-Americans who, like me, were born and raised in the United States also went through the same metamorphosis. Dean Obeidallah, CNN, 6 Sep. 2021 Millions more, like Patricia Smith, were too young to comprehend the destruction and the metamorphosis that followed. Bill Hutchinson, ABC News, 5 Sep. 2021 They long for the ultimate victory, the final score, the metamorphosis from chumps to Trumps, to winners who can never lose. Garret Keizer, Harper's Magazine, 17 Aug. 2021 Langlands said of Xianniang’s metamorphosis from her disguise as an Imperial soldier, to herself, to her hawk form. Michael Ordoña, Los Angeles Times, 14 Apr. 2021 Willow Smith is going through a metamorphosis of sorts, recently shedding another layer. Glenn Garner, PEOPLE.com, 18 July 2021 A decade after Willow Smith whipped her hair back and forth, the 20-year-old singer has gone through a metamorphosis, becoming one of the faces of pop-punk's resurgence. Marcus Jones, EW.com, 14 July 2021

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.

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First Known Use of metamorphosis

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for metamorphosis

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

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Time Traveler for metamorphosis

Time Traveler

The first known use of metamorphosis was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near metamorphosis

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Last Updated

17 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Metamorphosis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/metamorphosis. Accessed 24 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for metamorphosis

metamorphosis

noun

English Language Learners Definition of metamorphosis

: a major change in the appearance or character of someone or something
: a major change in the form or structure of some animals or insects that happens as the animal or insect becomes an adult

metamorphosis

noun
meta·​mor·​pho·​sis | \ ˌme-tə-ˈmȯr-fə-səs How to pronounce metamorphosis (audio) \
plural metamorphoses\ -​fə-​ˌsēz \

Kids Definition of metamorphosis

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)

metamorphosis

noun
meta·​mor·​pho·​sis | \ ˌmet-ə-ˈmȯr-fə-səs How to pronounce metamorphosis (audio) \
plural metamorphoses\ -​ˌsēz How to pronounce metamorphosis (audio) \

Medical Definition of metamorphosis

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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