Share this entry

metamorphosis Syllabification: met·a·mor·pho·sis
Pronunciation: /ˌmedəˈmôrfəsəs/

Definition of metamorphosis in English:

noun (plural metamorphoses-fəˌsēz)

1(In an insect or amphibian) the process of transformation from an immature form to an adult form in two or more distinct stages.
Example sentences
  • This is followed by a discussion of metamorphosis in insects and amphibians.
  • If sufficient stimuli are present, the physiological process of metamorphosis is initiated within the larvae.
  • All flies undergo complete metamorphosis with egg, larval, pupal, and adult stages in their development.
1.1A change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means: his metamorphosis from presidential candidate to talk-show host
More example sentences
  • A close examination of the fresco reveals a series of allusions to metamorphosis.
  • And, just when you think it's over, it defies expectations and metamorphoses into something different and more compelling.
  • Later, we see her in real terror as Namtar's metamorphosis takes hold and changes her very being.


Late Middle English: via Latin from Greek metamorphōsis, from metamorphoun 'transform, change shape'.

  • Metamorphosis came into English via Latin from Greek metamorphoun ‘transform, change shape’. It was introduced from the Metamorphoses, a large collection of verse stories by Ovid (43 bc ad 17 or 18), about transformations of gods and mortals into the shapes of objects, plants, or animals. In the 1980s morph, derived from metamorphosis, came to be used in computer animation for the merging of one image into another, although the idea was already familiar to young television viewers in the UK from the character of Morph, a stop-motion plasticine character created by Aardman Animations from 1977, who would mutate in the same way.

Words that rhyme with metamorphosis


Definition of metamorphosis in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day haughty
Pronunciation: ˈhɔːti
arrogantly superior and disdainful