Definition of metamorphose in US English:



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  • 1(of an insect or amphibian) undergo metamorphosis, especially into the adult form.

    ‘feed the larvae to your fish before they metamorphose into adults’
    • ‘Larvae metamorphose spontaneously, regardless of where they are.’
    • ‘The fungus seems to do no harm until the tadpoles start to metamorphose and develop the keratin-rich skin of the adult stage.’
    • ‘Fertilized eggs develop into crawling planula larvae which settle on hermit crab-occupied shells, and subsequently metamorphose into primary polyps.’
    • ‘Embryonic coelomic structures have specific fates as the bilaterally symmetrical larvae metamorphose into radially symmetric adults.’
    • ‘Three of 11 pools surveyed dried before any tadpoles could metamorphose.’
    • ‘The newly hatched larvae grow for approximately two months before they begin to metamorphose into the adult form.’
    • ‘Then, after thirteen or seventeen years (depending on the species), the nymphs crawl to the surface and metamorphose into red-eyed adults.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The megalopas return in large swarms to the nearshore waters and estuaries in the spring, where they metamorphose into first instar juvenile crabs.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Also see fishlike tadpoles that will later metamorphose into American bullfrogs, sprouting legs and losing their tails.’
    • ‘At the end of the larval stage, the animals drop down to the seafloor and metamorphose into adults.’
    • ‘Most amphibians hatch as aquatic, swimming larvae, then metamorphose into terrestrial forms.’
    • ‘The exercise is very popular with most students, and some once infected with the publication bug metamorphose into helpless, chronic letter writers.’
    • ‘Ordinarily, between 6 and 11 percent of leopard frog tadpoles survive and metamorphose into adults.’
    • ‘Trilling frog tadpoles can metamorphose within 17 days, pumping the same hormone through their systems that induces premature births in humans.’
    • ‘A larva metamorphoses into a small polyp termed the scyphistoma.’
    • ‘After a larva lands on the ocean floor, it metamorphoses, and the adult sponge begins to grow.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Many polychaetes hatch into a particular type of planktonic larva, the trochophore, which later metamorphoses into a juvenile annelid.’
    1. 1.1 Change or cause to change completely in form or nature.
      ‘a father seeing his daughter metamorphosing from girl into woman’
      • ‘Like a creature of nature who can quickly adapt to her surroundings, I hibernate, metamorphose, undergo catharsis and finally become a butterfly.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Metaphor adds its own changes to those botanical metamorphoses the poem celebrates descriptively.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      transform, change, mutate, transmute, transfigure, convert, alter, vary, modify, remodel, recast, restyle, reconstruct, reorder, reorganize, undergo a sea change, translate
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    2. 1.2Geology with object Subject (rock) to metamorphism.
      ‘the extreme heat metamorphosed the sandstone, baking it white and producing a quartzite rock’
      • ‘‘Marble’ is a general term for any kind of limestone or other carbonate rock that has been metamorphosed.’
      • ‘The geology of the complex, poorly exposed and highly deformed and metamorphosed rocks of the Sudetes of SW Poland has long been controversial.’
      • ‘These rocks were metamorphosed during the Grampian Orogeny.’
      • ‘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.’


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