me·​tas·​ta·​size | \ mə-ˈta-stə-ˌsīz How to pronounce metastasize (audio) \
metastasized; metastasizing

Definition of metastasize

intransitive verb

: to spread or grow by or as if by metastasis died of lung cancer which had metastasized throughout his body— G. P. Elliott

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Examples of metastasize in a Sentence

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What started with tariffs on solar panels and steel has metastasized into a multifront campaign designed to penalize the United States’ largest trading partners. Taylor Telford, Washington Post, "Here’s how tariffs will raise prices at some of America’s best-known companies," 8 June 2019 The cancer, already at Stage 4, had metastasized to her sacrum, a bone at the base of her spine. Marie Milano, Country Living, "Who Is Olivia Newton-John's Daughter, Chloe Lattanzi?," 16 Feb. 2019 Hypotheticals and thought experiments metastasize across the pages of publications while harassment and retaliation remain. Alex Press, Vox, "What’s next for #MeToo? The McDonald’s strikes have an answer.," 18 Sep. 2018 Remember, malignant and borderline malignant tumors all have the capacity to metastasize. Korin Miller, SELF, "The Three Types of Ovarian Cancer You Should Know," 1 Nov. 2018 But there's not a reliable way to tell which cancers are aggressive and more likely to metastasize or spread to other parts of the body. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, "Prostate cancer screening: Should you or shouldn't you?," 8 May 2018 Today, the challenge is distinguishing small, low-risk cancers from those likely to metastasize. Lucette Lagnado, WSJ, "Prostate-Cancer Gene Test Helps Patients Decide on Treatment," 31 Mar. 2018 That cancer cells migrate back to the original tumor after metastasizing to distant sites is still, 12 years after its discovery, one of the most unexpected and perplexing in cancer biology. Sharon Begley, STAT, "CRISPR makes cancer cells turncoats that attack their tumor, mouse study finds," 11 July 2018 Things were more low key at the Maxime cafe in nearby Mounira, a neighborhood that — like much of Cairo — was solidly middle-class until a few years ago, when signs of poverty and neglect began metastasizing quickly. Rachel Scheier,, "In Egypt: Poverty, political turmoil, unemployment and now — finally — World Cup soccer," 15 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'metastasize.' 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 metastasize

1907, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

18 Jun 2019

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The first known use of metastasize was in 1907

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More Definitions for metastasize


intransitive verb
variants: also British metastasise \ mə-​ˈtas-​tə-​ˌsīz How to pronounce metastasise (audio) \
metastasized also British metastasised; metastasizing also British metastasising

Medical Definition of metastasize

: to spread by metastasis … all ten were primary brain cancers; that is, they had originated in the brain, and not metastasized there from elsewhere in the body.— Paul Brodeur, The New Yorker, 9 July 1990

Other Words from metastasize

metastasization also British metastasisation \ mə-​ˌtas-​tə-​sə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce metastasisation (audio) \ noun

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