verb trans·mute \ tran(t)s-ˈmyüt , tranz- \
|Updated on: 20 Jul 2018

Definition of transmute

transmuted; transmuting
1 : to change or alter in form, appearance, or nature and especially to a higher form
2 : to subject (something, such as an element) to transmutation
: to undergo transmutation


play \tran(t)s-ˈmyü-tə-bəl, tranz-\ adjective

Examples of transmute in a Sentence

  1. The stories of their lives were transmuted into works of fiction.

  2. The former criminal had transmuted into a national hero.

Recent Examples of transmute from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'transmute.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

Transmutation changes something over into something else. Thus, a writer may transmute his life into stories or novels, and an arranger might transmute a lively march tune into a quiet lullaby. In the "Myth of Er" at the end of Plato's Republic, for example, human souls are transmuted into the body and existence of their choice. Having learned from their last life what they do not want to be, many choose transmutation into something that seems better. A meek man chooses to be transmuted into a tyrant, a farmer into a dashing (but short-lived) warrior, and so on. But very few seem to have learned anything from their former life that would make their choice a real improvement.

Origin and Etymology of transmute

Middle English, from Latin transmutare, from trans- + mutare to change — more at mutable

Synonym Discussion of transmute

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

TRANSMUTE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of transmute for English Language Learners

  • : to completely change the form, appearance, or nature of (someone or something)

Law Dictionary


transitive verb trans·mute \ tranz-ˈmyüt, trans- \

legal Definition of transmute

transmuted; transmuting
: to convert or transform the type of ownership of (property) by transmutation
  • did not transmute the properties themselves into marital assets
  • In re Siddens, 588 N.E.2d 321 (1992)

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