trans·​fig·​u·​ra·​tion | \ (ˌ)tran(t)s-ˌfi-gyə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce transfiguration (audio) , -gə- \

Definition of transfiguration

1a : a change in form or appearance : metamorphosis
b : an exalting, glorifying, or spiritual change
2 capitalized : a Christian feast that commemorates the transfiguration of Christ on a mountaintop in the presence of three disciples and that is observed on August 6 in the Roman Catholic and some Eastern churches and on the Sunday before Lent in most Protestant churches

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The Gospels relate that one day Jesus took three disciples up a mountain, where they witnessed his transfiguration into divine form: his face shone like the sun, his garments became brilliantly white, and a voice from heaven proclaimed that this was the son of God. Transfiguration was first used in English as the name of this biblical event, and the Feast of the Transfiguration remains the name of a holy day. So the word has always kept a somewhat religious—and almost always positive—tone. A face may be transfigured by joy, and an "ugly duckling" may be slowly transfigured into a radiant beauty. And as Harry Potter fans know, transfiguration is a subject long taught at the Hogwarts School by Minerva McGonagall.

Examples of transfiguration in a Sentence

after his transfiguration into a Buddhist monk, all his family and friends were amazed by his newly found patience and tranquillity
Recent Examples on the Web All three open with songs contemplating death, and her other solo songs explore desire, myth, memory and transfiguration: as narrative, as images, as parable. New York Times, 19 Jan. 2022 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is returning to the stage - with a little transfiguration to its structure. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 28 June 2021 That kind of transfiguration snuffs out the complexity of his everyday humanity. New York Times, 20 May 2021 There was an implied story line hinting at death and transfiguration. Washington Post, 14 Jan. 2021 But, definitely in that scene, in the transfiguration classroom, there was a monkey of some kind in a cage that did just start jerking off relentlessly. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, 4 Dec. 2020 This entire process, from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, was not so much about the resurrection of the ancient world as its transfiguration, a multi-century habit of rendering the ancients comprehensible to Northern Europeans. Charles King, Washington Post, 6 Nov. 2020 Cable news and social media, by way of contrast, make this transfiguration of the human into the political their stock-in-trade. Cameron Hilditch, National Review, 20 Oct. 2020 Tens of millions of years of tectonic transfiguration and the slow desiccation of Australia have steadily eroded Eidothea’s territory, constricting its two living species to patches of forest along the continent’s eastern coastline. Maddie Stone, The Atlantic, 25 Feb. 2020

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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The first known use of transfiguration was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

22 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Transfiguration.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on transfiguration

Britannica English: Translation of transfiguration for Arabic Speakers


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