Definition of metathesis in English:



  • 1Grammar
    [mass noun] The transposition of sounds or letters in a word.

    ‘he attributes the metathesis of the last two sounds to the Creole tendency to end words with a vowel’
    • ‘We are dealing here with a phenomenon called metathesis (pronounced mih-TATH-uh-sis), the switching of two adjacent sounds within a word.’
    • ‘Stress errors and phoneme substitutions or metatheses not attributable to dialect or articulation, however, were considered incorrect.’
    • ‘X sometimes alternates with sk by metathesis: Manx for earlier Mansk; piskey as a variant of pixie; ax as a dialect form of ask.’
    • ‘It looks like Safire is assuming a metathesis and then a reshaping to match other cular words, which would supply a/y.’
  • 2Chemistry

    another term for double decomposition
    • ‘I've never done an olefin metathesis reaction, which means that the trend started without me and will leave without me.’
    • ‘In South Africa, interest in alkene metathesis research is growing.’
    • ‘Recently there has also been a growing interest in utilising what is known as the alkene metathesis reaction for altering chain-lengths of ‘oils’ to form new compounds.’
    • ‘This was made by metathesis of 1-ethyl - 3-methylimidazolium [emim] with Ag [BF 4] in methanol.’
    • ‘The Nobel prize in Chemistry this year goes to Robert H. Grubbs, Richard R. Schrock, and Yves Chauvin (Institut Francais du Petrole) for the development of metathesis.’


Late 16th century: from Greek, from metatithenai transpose, change the position of.