Definition of mutate in English:



  • 1Change or cause to change in form or nature.

    no object ‘technology continues to mutate at an alarming rate’
    with object ‘the quick-dry solution really worked, even if it did mutate the skin on her fingers to reptilian scales’
    • ‘Why has our understanding of democracy mutated into nothing but an allergy to order and responsibility?’
    • ‘We had our reunion yesterday, attended by 11 of us which is a good turn out, and the day trip to France has now mutated into a weekend in Paris!’
    • ‘Nowadays the car has cleverly mutated into a hatchback but even so, a bag of golfclubs is out of the question.’
    • ‘This friendship also mutated into something more, as we already had the hugging scenes, and then this.’
    • ‘What was once the realm of science fiction has mutated into serious debate.’
    • ‘The pigeon let out one long coo, and then, as its body began to swell and transform, the sound mutated into a low chuckle.’
    • ‘In some awful way, his regard for the underdog has mutated into support for mad dogs.’
    • ‘He had mutated into one of the earth's most evil and cruel creatures imaginable.’
    • ‘Then my pleasant thoughts mutated into dark gory battlefields across the red sand.’
    • ‘But by 2005, the European agenda has mutated into making a new class of politicians more powerful.’
    • ‘I mean, I have no problems with research that disprove age-old theories that already mutated into dogma.’
    • ‘We must understand how it mutates, transforms and spreads.’
    • ‘But now the perennial moaning about diving has mutated into a full-blown campaign to stamp out this malevolent practice.’
    • ‘Autograph hunters have gradually mutated into poison-pen letter-senders.’
    • ‘Come next year these unexceptional throwbacks might have mutated into cunning reinventors.’
    • ‘Sure, by loose definition it can be called a game, but it has mutated into something much more grotesque than that.’
    • ‘Somehow, they've mutated into characters who are colder, harder, and much less moral.’
    • ‘The Glasgow-based band's debut delivers on its promises of glam-rock mutated into disco rhythms with interest.’
    • ‘It developed on the east coast, mutated into different forms, spread to Europe and on.’
    • ‘America, once known as the land of the free and the home of the brave, has mutated into the land of the medicated and the home of the lawsuit.’
    1. 1.1Biology (with reference to a cell, DNA molecule, etc.) undergo or cause to undergo change in a gene or genes.
      no object ‘the virus is able to mutate into new forms that are immune to the vaccine’
      with object ‘certain nucleotides were mutated’
      • ‘Only 15 of these genes were previously known to cause a toxin phenotype when mutated.’
      • ‘When a gene on a more typical chromosome mutates, the chromosome can still recombine with its twin.’
      • ‘If a gene on the Y chromosome mutates, that piece of the male genetic code may disappear.’
      • ‘Scientists came to understand how genes mutate, and how mutations helped make natural selection possible.’
      • ‘This gene, when mutated, severely disrupts both germ cell migration and developmental cell death.’


Early 19th century: back-formation from mutation.