Definition of metamorphose in English:



  • 1[no object] (of an insect or amphibian) undergo metamorphosis, especially into the adult form:

    ‘feed the larvae to your fish before they metamorphose into adults’
    • ‘The newly hatched larvae grow for approximately two months before they begin to metamorphose into the adult form.’
    • ‘The fungus seems to do no harm until the tadpoles start to metamorphose and develop the keratin-rich skin of the adult stage.’
    • ‘Ordinarily, between 6 and 11 percent of leopard frog tadpoles survive and metamorphose into adults.’
    • ‘Larvae metamorphose spontaneously, regardless of where they are.’
    • ‘A larva metamorphoses into a small polyp termed the scyphistoma.’
    • ‘Many polychaetes hatch into a particular type of planktonic larva, the trochophore, which later metamorphoses into a juvenile annelid.’
    • ‘Embryonic coelomic structures have specific fates as the bilaterally symmetrical larvae metamorphose into radially symmetric adults.’
    • ‘The exercise is very popular with most students, and some once infected with the publication bug metamorphose into helpless, chronic letter writers.’
    • ‘Also see fishlike tadpoles that will later metamorphose into American bullfrogs, sprouting legs and losing their tails.’
    • ‘The net result of these four features of development is that larvae will metamorphose at an earlier age if they encounter a decline in growth opportunity, providing that they have exceeded a critical threshold.’
    • ‘He'd always bring a jar of the stuff in and we'd have lessons where we'd document the life of the frog by watching the frog spawn hatch and metamorphose from tadpoles to frogs.’
    • ‘The megalopas return in large swarms to the nearshore waters and estuaries in the spring, where they metamorphose into first instar juvenile crabs.’
    • ‘These larvae will also metamorphose into adults sooner than their long-armed brethren and thus are vulnerable to planktonic predators for a shorter period of time.’
    • ‘Three of 11 pools surveyed dried before any tadpoles could metamorphose.’
    • ‘At the end of the larval stage, the animals drop down to the seafloor and metamorphose into adults.’
    • ‘Fertilized eggs develop into crawling planula larvae which settle on hermit crab-occupied shells, and subsequently metamorphose into primary polyps.’
    • ‘Most amphibians hatch as aquatic, swimming larvae, then metamorphose into terrestrial forms.’
    • ‘Trilling frog tadpoles can metamorphose within 17 days, pumping the same hormone through their systems that induces premature births in humans.’
    • ‘After a larva lands on the ocean floor, it metamorphoses, and the adult sponge begins to grow.’
    • ‘Then, after thirteen or seventeen years (depending on the species), the nymphs crawl to the surface and metamorphose into red-eyed adults.’
    1. 1.1 Change or cause to change completely in form or nature:
      ‘overnight, family houses metamorphose into bed and breakfast as 7,000 visitors roll into town’
      • ‘However ‘temporary’ these sanctions are supposed to be, the history of such measures is that they tend to metamorphose into something far more long-lasting.’
      • ‘His appeal discloses the ‘work’ of making early television and also very publicly admits to the nature of program metamorphoses from program department conception to a weekly show.’
      • ‘I should say that there are some fine performances in the film as well, particularly from Gary Sinise who seems to be able to metamorphose into whatever character he is playing.’
      • ‘It becomes a matter of concern when these things get repeated once too often and responsible persons metamorphose into gurus telling people, especially women, how to live their lives.’
      • ‘Metaphor adds its own changes to those botanical metamorphoses the poem celebrates descriptively.’
      • ‘It metamorphoses, mutates, transforms with each effort to capture it, so that anything that is ‘captured’ would be anything but the beginning.’
      • ‘Their most talented and experienced analysts are likely to metamorphose into bankers, who earn roughly twice what they do, leaving their less savvy colleagues to serve retail clients.’
      • ‘Like a creature of nature who can quickly adapt to her surroundings, I hibernate, metamorphose, undergo catharsis and finally become a butterfly.’
      transform, change, mutate, transmute, transfigure, convert, alter, vary, modify, remodel, recast, restyle, reconstruct, reorder, reorganize, undergo a sea change, translate
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  • 2Geology
    [with object] Subject (rock) to metamorphism:

    ‘a metamorphosed sandstone’
    • ‘This rock unit consists chiefly of Silurian shale and sandstone that have been metamorphosed to high-grade schist and migmatite.’
    • ‘Two facies of regionally metamorphosed rocks that may be of either original sedimentary or igneous derivation are characterized by epidote.’
    • ‘These rocks were metamorphosed during the Grampian Orogeny.’
    • ‘The geology of the complex, poorly exposed and highly deformed and metamorphosed rocks of the Sudetes of SW Poland has long been controversial.’
    • ‘‘Marble’ is a general term for any kind of limestone or other carbonate rock that has been metamorphosed.’


Late 16th century: from French métamorphoser, from métamorphose (see metamorphosis).