Definition of transformation in US English:



  • 1A thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.

    ‘its landscape has undergone a radical transformation’
    • ‘The traditional post office underwent a radical transformation and the new-look store was opened ten years ago.’
    • ‘The radical transformation that many prisoners undergo is often lost in popular accounts of the prison experience.’
    • ‘One of the least demanding of all perennial plants, irises are undergoing a radical transformation regarding color, flower form, and reblooming abilities.’
    • ‘If the quasar results are eventually confirmed, our concepts of space and time are sure to undergo radical transformations.’
    • ‘The character of the inner city has undergone a marked transformation since the City set up a rejuvenation plan five years ago.’
    • ‘Changes in your appearance reflect major transformations occurring within.’
    • ‘But the entire focus of reconstruction underwent a wholesale transformation in the months after the war.’
    • ‘Behind them, we have to believe the mind will undergo a radical transformation.’
    • ‘Over the course of the last two decades the organisation of governmental activity has undergone a radical transformation.’
    • ‘For a hint as to how that might unfold, consider the revolution pop music is currently undergoing - a radical transformation not of content but of distribution and perception.’
    • ‘One of our biggest challenges is to step back from the fray and find a space where we can reflect on the nature of the transformation so that our response to it is proactive rather than reactive.’
    • ‘This country is undergoing a radical transformation because of illegal immigration and our President will do nothing to stop it.’
    • ‘He laughs at these great transformations of nature by nature.’
    • ‘In the former, there has been a radical transformation in the nature of the designs: artists have developed a new ‘ethnic’ style.’
    • ‘Over the last number of weeks, the theatre has been undergoing a radical transformation in the name of theatre.’
    • ‘I suppose that's why ecopsychology experts suggest that reconnecting with nature requires a transformation of consciousness.’
    • ‘She could easily see all the changes the transformation wrought on her appearance, and she was glad for them.’
    • ‘Happily, the nature of the transformation has been the opposite of that predicted by the past century's major prophets: Aldous Huxley and George Orwell.’
    change, alteration, modification, variation, conversion, revision, amendment, metamorphosis, transfiguration, evolution, mutation, sea change
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A metamorphosis during the life cycle of an animal.
      • ‘The complex transformation to adult morphology begins in the last larval instar and completes during the resting stage of the pupa.’
      • ‘The transformation to the adult form sheds the gills in favor of two pairs of wings.’
      • ‘With apologies to those whose work we might leave out, we are still far from having a complete understanding of how the transformations of metamorphosis are controlled in even one species.’
      • ‘Another striking example of metamorphosis is the transformation of the pluteus stage larva of the sea urchin into the adult.’
      • ‘This is especially true in the late larval transformations into juveniles, where MF plays an inhibitory role, as well as during the transformation of juveniles into adults.’
      • ‘Both the molting process and the metamorphic transformation from larva to pupa are coordinated and regulated by hormones.’
      • ‘In sexual reproduction, spermatocytes develop from the transformation of choanocytes, and oocytes arise from archeocytes.’
      • ‘The metamorphic transformation from larva to pupa to butterfly (with a range of several hundred miles).’
      • ‘These results provide insight into the hydrodynamic importance of major evolutionary transformations in pectoral fin morphology within the Actinopterygii.’
      • ‘Morphological transformation of the antenna also correlates with stratigraphic occurrence.’
    2. 1.2Physics The induced or spontaneous change of one element into another by a nuclear process.
      • ‘Except for the transformation of elements by nuclear reactions, all of the atoms in the universe heavier than helium are the products of the nuclear reactions that take place in dying stars.’
      • ‘Gamma rays are high energy photons, often emitted together with beta or alpha radiations when the transformation has left the atom with excess energy.’
      • ‘In chemistry, thermodynamics refers to the transformations of energy associated with chemical reactions.’
      • ‘In a series of experiments, he also found that slow neutrons were efficient agents of nuclear transformations and won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1938.’
      • ‘As a result of the nucleon transformations, a new proton is left behind in the nucleus and the atomic number of the atom is raised by one.’
    3. 1.3Mathematics Logic A process by which one figure, expression, or function is converted into another that is equivalent in some important respect but is differently expressed or represented.
      • ‘Picard also discovered a group, now called the Picard group, which acts as a group of transformations on a linear differential equation.’
      • ‘He was mainly interested in the applications of this subject to linear transformations on Hilbert space.’
      • ‘His results on this topic provided connections between number theory, theta functions, and the transformations of abelian functions.’
      • ‘He thus enriched analysis and gave the complete solution of the two great questions of the transformation of hyperelliptic functions and of their complex multiplication.’
      • ‘Painlevé's first area of interest in mathematics was rational transformations of algebraic curves and surfaces.’
    4. 1.4Linguistics A process by which an element in the underlying deep structure of a sentence is converted to an element in the surface structure.
      • ‘It's a fast language for doing all sorts of text transformations, and you can pick up the simpler elements, I think, from scratch in a week or two.’
      • ‘At the time he was busy mimeographing handouts about ordering constraints among syntactic transformations.’
      • ‘The transformation is typically carried out clausewise.’
    5. 1.5Biology The genetic alteration of a cell by introduction of extraneous DNA, especially by a plasmid.
      • ‘The genotype of each strain and plasmids used for transformation are indicated at the top.’
      • ‘For each transformation, the plasmid inserts from 7 to 18 colonies were sequenced.’
      • ‘Plasmid manipulation and bacterial transformation were performed by standard techniques.’
      • ‘Escherichia coli were transformed with the respective plasmids by chemical transformation.’
      • ‘Plasmid transformation, selection, and testing for recombinant clones were performed as described.’
    6. 1.6Biology The heritable modification of a cell from its normal state to a malignant state.
      • ‘The independent and simultaneous malignant transformation of 4 different stem cells is difficult to imagine in such a small tumor.’
      • ‘It is currently believed that most colorectal carcinomas start as benign adenomas that undergo malignant transformation into adenocarcinoma.’
      • ‘Despite their histologic benignity, sinonasal papillomas have a small but definite potential for malignant transformation.’
      • ‘However, its potential function as a tumor suppressor gene suggests a possible role in the malignant transformation of mesothelial cells.’
      • ‘They concluded that this was a case of malignant transformation of cardiac myxoma, but it could also have been multiple tumor emboli.’


Late Middle English: from Old French, or from late Latin transformatio(n-), from the verb transformare (see transform).