trans·​mute | \ tran(t)s-ˈmyüt How to pronounce transmute (audio) , tranz-\
transmuted; transmuting

Definition of transmute

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to undergo transmutation

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Other Words from transmute

transmutable \ tran(t)s-​ˈmyü-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce transmutable (audio) , tranz-​ \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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.

Examples of transmute in a Sentence

The stories of their lives were transmuted into works of fiction. The former criminal had transmuted into a national hero.

Recent Examples on the Web

As the data transmutes form and changes hands, its value becomes anybody’s guess. Gregory Barber, WIRED, "AI Needs Your Data—and You Should Get Paid for It," 8 Aug. 2019 In Schafer’s telling, one of Zendaya’s many talents is to transmute fear into compassion. Tyler Mitchell, Vogue, "With HBO’s Euphoria, Zendaya Puts Her Disney Past Behind Her Once and For All," 9 May 2019 Visualize the negative energy that may be there being transmuted by this light and feel it’s warmth. Lisa Stardust, Teen Vogue, "How to Use Magic to Banish Energy Vampires," 28 May 2019 To call Ida an artistic reckoning with this personal trauma would be a gross understatement; the film’s stunningly succinct eighty-two minutes seem to encompass and transmute all of Polish history. Giles Harvey, Harper's magazine, "Home Truths," 10 Jan. 2019 The ancient alchemists wanted to transmute the elements and turn lead into gold. Quanta Magazine, "‘Digital Alchemist’ Seeks Rules of Emergence," 8 Mar. 2017 Some of these Fiverr performers go viral and are able to transmute the radical silliness of their craft into a legitimate career, outside of someone else’s viral videos. Luke.winkie, Vox, "Inside Venezuela’s YouTube prank economy," 12 Dec. 2018 In Welcome to Santo Poco!, their new solo show at Cristina Grajales Gallery, the brothers transmute the wonder of the new property into a variety of mixed media artworks. Olivia Martin, Town & Country, "Welcome to Santo Poco! The Ladd Brothers Evoke Childhood Magic at Cristina Grajales Gallery," 29 Nov. 2018 To the casual drinker, the idea of transmuting religion or social science into cocktails may verge on the absurd. Elizabeth G. Dunn, WSJ, "My Cocktail’s Smarter Than Yours: A Guide to the World’s Brainiest Bar Menus," 12 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of transmute

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for transmute

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

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Time Traveler for transmute

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

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More Definitions for transmute



English Language Learners Definition of transmute

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


transitive verb
trans·​mute | \ tranz-ˈmyüt, trans- How to pronounce transmute (audio) \
transmuted; transmuting

Legal Definition of transmute

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

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to fake an opponent out of position

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