meta·​sta·​ble | \-ˈstā-bəl \

Definition of metastable 

: having or characterized by only a slight margin of stability a metastable compound

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from metastable

metastability \-​stə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē \ noun
metastably \-​ˈstā-​b(ə-​)lē \ adverb

Examples of metastable in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In 2000, astronomers predicted that metastable helium should show up in certain planetary atmospheres, but a search for it—reported in 2003,—on the planet HD 209458b, came up empty. Alexandra Witze, Scientific American, "Astronomers Spot Helium on Exoplanet for First Time," 4 May 2018 Guth wondered what would have happened if such a metastable phase transition occurred in the early universe. Adam Davidson, The New Yorker, "The End of the Universe as We Know It," 23 Mar. 2017

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

First Known Use of metastable

1897, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for metastable

International Scientific Vocabulary

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about metastable

Share metastable

Statistics for metastable

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for metastable

The first known use of metastable was in 1897

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for metastable


meta·​sta·​ble | \ˌmet-ə-ˈstā-bəl \

Medical Definition of metastable 

: having or characterized by only a slight margin of stability a metastable compound

Other Words from metastable

metastability \-​stə-​ˈbil-​ət-​ē \ noun plural -ties

Comments on metastable

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


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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