trans·​fig·​ure tran(t)s-ˈfi-gyər How to pronounce transfigure (audio)
 especially British  -ˈfi-gə
transfigured; transfiguring

transitive verb

: to give a new and typically exalted or spiritual appearance to : transform outwardly and usually for the better
Choose the Right Synonym for transfigure

transform, metamorphose, transmute, convert, transmogrify, transfigure mean to change a thing into a different thing.

transform implies a major change in form, nature, or function.

transformed a small company into a corporate giant

metamorphose suggests an abrupt or startling change induced by or as if by magic or a supernatural power.

awkward girls metamorphosed into graceful ballerinas

transmute implies transforming into a higher element or thing.

attempted to transmute lead into gold

convert implies a change fitting something for a new or different use or function.

converted the study into a nursery

transmogrify suggests a strange or preposterous metamorphosis.

a story in which a frog is transmogrified into a prince

transfigure implies a change that exalts or glorifies.

joy transfigured her face

Examples of transfigure in a Sentence

Her face seemed transfigured by happiness. married life has seemingly transfigured his formerly aimless existence
Recent Examples on the Web There’s a special thrill when a production manages to transfigure an old space like the Connelly, with its aura of gas lamps and ghost lights. Sara Holdren, Vulture, 19 Oct. 2023 That an array of drugs have this potential also means that something deeper must unite these psychedelics in their ability to transfigure the mind. WIRED, 15 June 2023 Byrne, for instance, both captured and transfigured the essential loneliness of Roy Orbison’s music. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 19 Sep. 2023 Interspersed poems touchingly personalize loss, but also transfigure it. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 16 Sep. 2023 To transfigure a human villain into a demonic one, ostensibly the ultimate moral indictment, in practice amounts to a kind of cinematic vindication. Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 7 Sep. 2023 By the time Small had been using the GPR machine in the cemetery for a couple of days, she felt transfigured by a sense of calling. Rowan Moore Gerety, WIRED, 13 July 2023 His paintings often depicted a human body glowing, as if transfigured, in a geometric landscape. Ava Kofman, ProPublica, 26 June 2023 Like the calligraphy on display, these pictures transfigure Indian inspirations and Chinese interpretations into something that is uniquely Japanese. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 25 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'transfigure.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French transfigurer, from Latin transfigurare, from trans- + figurare to shape, fashion, from figura figure

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of transfigure was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near transfigure

Cite this Entry

“Transfigure.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


trans·​fig·​ure tran(t)s-ˈfig-yər How to pronounce transfigure (audio)
 especially British  -ˈfig-ər
transfigured; transfiguring
: to change the form or appearance of and usually make more glorious or ideally beautiful

More from Merriam-Webster on transfigure

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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