Word of the Day : July 9, 2018

transmogrify

play
verb transs-MAH-gruh-fye

Definition

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

Did You Know?

We know that the prefix trans- means "across" or "beyond" and appears in many words that evoke change, such as transform and transpire, but we don't know the exact origins of transmogrify. The 17th-century dramatist, novelist, and poet Aphra Behn, who is regarded as England's first female professional writer, was an early adopter of the word. In her 1671 comic play The Amorous Prince, Behn wrote, "I wou'd Love would transmogriphy me to a maid now." A century later, Scottish poet Robert Burns plied the word again in verse, aptly capturing the grotesque and sometimes humorous effect of transmogrification: "See Social life and Glee sit down, All joyous and unthinking, Till, quite transmugrify'd, they're grown Debauchery and Drinking…."


Examples

"It hadn't been cleaned in more than two years and the captured leaves had transmogrified into a wonderfully fecund compost." — Frank Mulligan, The Leader (Corning, New York), 8 Aug. 2014

"He was present in 1917 when communists shot their way to power and Imperial Russia transmogrified into the Soviet Union." — Colin Nickerson, The Boston Globe, 30 Apr. 2017



Name That Synonym

Fill in the blanks to complete a synonym of transmogrify: _ e _ _ m _ rp _ _ se.

VIEW THE ANSWER

Podcast


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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