trans·​for·​ma·​tion | \ ˌtran(t)s-fər-ˈmā-shən, -fȯr-\

Definition of transformation

1 : an act, process, or instance of transforming or being transformed
2 : false hair worn especially by a woman to replace or supplement natural hair
3a(1) : the operation of changing (as by rotation or mapping) one configuration or expression into another in accordance with a mathematical rule especially : a change of variables or coordinates in which a function of new variables or coordinates is substituted for each original variable or coordinate
(2) : the formula that effects a transformation
c : an operation that converts (as by insertion, deletion, or permutation) one grammatical string (such as a sentence) into another also : a formal statement of such an operation
4 : genetic modification of a bacterium by incorporation of free DNA from another bacterial cell also : genetic modification of a cell by the uptake and incorporation of exogenous DNA

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Examples of transformation in a Sentence

The building underwent various transformations over the years. a raven-haired starlet who underwent an attention-getting transformation and showed up at the awards ceremony as a blonde

Recent Examples on the Web

Human rights groups and the European Union have been expressing concerns about the state of democracy in Poland over new laws that have eroded judicial independence and the ruling party’s transformation of public media into a propaganda tool. Vanessa Gera, The Seattle Times, "US ambassador angers Poles with letter to prime minister," 28 Nov. 2018 Kendall Square’s evolution and transformation into a center for innovation and research was anything but certain. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "As top innovation hub expands, can straining local infrastructure keep pace?," 6 Nov. 2018 The appetite for prestige true crime appears to be insatiable: Margot Robbie’s transformation into Sharon Tate for her role in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is just one movie based on the life of the late actress. Bridget Read, Vogue, "There Are 3 Upcoming Sharon Tate Films—Here’s Everything You Need to Know," 6 Aug. 2018 Some had real fun with it, including some gender-bending transformations, or people who already looked good transforming into...just themselves. Verge Staff, The Verge, "The best memes of 2018, according to The Verge staff," 27 Dec. 2018 Before-and-after images illustrate mind-blowing transformations, and according to Chow, the company's membership tripled last year and has increased by five times in the past 12 months. Jillian Ruffo, Glamour, "I Designed My Own Night Cream, and It Totally Changed My Skin," 4 Dec. 2018 To see the full transformation, visit Old Brand New. Sienna Fantozzi, House Beautiful, "This Small Bathroom Before & After Will Literally Stun You," 17 Nov. 2018 The game cleverly takes advantage of your rapt Tetris attention to introduce subtle and not-so-subtle level transformations, and these feel all the more sense-overwhelming within the comfortable confines of a PlayStation VR headset. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Tetris Effect review: The puzzle game of my dreams—literally," 9 Nov. 2018 The county retains tens of thousands of federal jobs, but by 2013 government was no longer its top employment sector—a striking transformation. Mene Ukueberuwa, WSJ, "How Arlington Lured Amazon With Low Costs," 14 Dec. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

19 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for transformation

The first known use of transformation was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for transformation



English Language Learners Definition of transformation

: a complete or major change in someone's or something's appearance, form, etc.


trans·​for·​ma·​tion | \ ˌtrans-fər-ˈmā-shən \

Kids Definition of transformation

: the act or process of changing completely : a complete change


trans·​for·​ma·​tion | \ ˌtran(t)s-fər-ˈmā-shən, -fȯr- \

Medical Definition of transformation

1 : an act, process, or instance of transforming or being transformed — see malignant transformation
2a : genetic modification of a bacterium by incorporation of free DNA from another ruptured bacterial cell — compare transduction sense 2
b : genetic modification of a cell by the uptake and incorporation of exogenous DNA

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Comments on transformation

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


a complex dispute or argument

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