me·​tas·​ta·​size | \mə-ˈtas-tə-ˌsīz \
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

Examples of metastasize in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

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 Charlie Warzel from BuzzFeed talking about this other part of the right-wing conservative media, which has now like metastasized way beyond Fox News. Recode Staff, Recode, "Full transcript: Pod Save America’s Dan Pfeiffer on Recode Media," 2 July 2018 The painful twist is that what seemed like the Democrats’ most valuable asset in the midterm campaign — the wave of liberal activism unleashed by President Trump — has metastasized into a mortal threat because of the glut of candidates. Jonathan Martin, New York Times, "Democrats Go All-Out to Avoid Disaster in California House Races," 26 May 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.

See More

First Known Use of metastasize

1907, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about metastasize

Share metastasize

Statistics for metastasize

Last Updated

17 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for metastasize

The first known use of metastasize was in 1907

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for metastasize


intransitive verb
variants: also British metastasise \mə-​ˈtas-​tə-​ˌsīz \
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 \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on metastasize

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with metastasize

Comments on metastasize

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


having a pattern of small flowers

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!