trans·​mog·​ri·​fy tran(t)s-ˈmä-grə-ˌfī How to pronounce transmogrify (audio)
transmogrified; transmogrifying

transitive verb

: to change or alter greatly and often with grotesque or humorous effect
transmogrification noun

Did you know?

We know that the prefix trans-, meaning “across” or “beyond,” appears in many words that evoke change, such as transform and transpire, but mogrify is a bit of a mystery. Regardless of the word’s origins, writers have found transmogrify useful for centuries. English dramatist Aphra Behn’s 1671 comic play The Amorous Prince features an early example of the word, and about a century later, Scottish poet Robert Burns used it in his poem “Address to the Unco Guid, or the Rigidly Righteous.” And in the late 20th century, cartoonist Bill Watterson’s comic strip series Calvin and Hobbes featured an invention called a “transmogrifier” (the first iteration was a cardboard box; later a water pistol was a “transmogrifier gun”) that had various transmogrification functions.

Choose the Right Synonym for transmogrify

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 transmogrify in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In that freedom, hip-hop music transmogrified from songs to studies. Keith Nelson, Men's Health, 12 Apr. 2023 In the 1980s and 1990s this transmogrified into an attack on science. Naomi Oreskes, Scientific American, 1 July 2020 After 40 years of getting worked over, Mercury would be transmogrified, or almost magically altered, and totally kaput. Adam Hadhazy, Popular Mechanics, 7 Mar. 2023 Or change its identity or transmogrify into a different social function of a space. Erik Morse, Vogue, 31 Jan. 2023 For those looking to dig deeper, here are the best books that deconstruct, analyze, and even transmogrify the star known as Marilyn Monroe. Nathan Smith, Vulture, 23 Sep. 2022 Cady seduces like a snake, charming his victims into their demise, but can as quickly transmogrify into a deranged beast striking fear into the Bowden family during a torrential storm. Lea Anderson, Men's Health, 29 Aug. 2022 For most basketball fans, that joy will transmogrify into disappointment, sadness or even fleeting anger once their favorite team is eliminated. Paul Eisenberg,, 21 Mar. 2021 Christians have been borrowing from other religions since the days when the pagan feast of Saturnalia transmogrified into Christmas and the Gaelic festival of Samhain became All Saints’ Day. The Economist, 24 Oct. 2019 See More

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

Word History


origin unknown

First Known Use

1656, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of transmogrify was in 1656


Dictionary Entries Near transmogrify

Cite this Entry

“Transmogrify.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

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