Definition of transmute in US English:



  • 1Change in form, nature, or substance.

    with object ‘the raw material of his experience was transmuted into stories’
    no object ‘the discovery that elements can transmute by radioactivity’
    • ‘Like so many other beauty products, styling treatments have come a long, long way: 20 years ago there were products that, when dry, transmuted into white flakes of dandruff.’
    • ‘Past experiences leave corresponding traces in mental space, suggesting how the mind retains but transmutes its sensory sources.’
    • ‘Wall Street is transmuting electrons into big money.’
    • ‘The city was engulfed by shock transmuted into compassion, grief and mourning.’
    • ‘What was unassuming and harmless suddenly becomes ironic, transmuted into that elusive thing we call ‘art.’’
    • ‘And the American dream that wealth transmutes success into happiness always ends in bitter disappointment.’
    • ‘That is how we solve the problem, by channeling or transmuting our energy, desiring things that are more refined.’
    • ‘The sniffles I have been nursing since July have transmuted into pure flu, as lead transmutes into gold.’
    • ‘There is Latin itself, which ultimately failed to outlive the imperium and which slowly transmuted into the vernacular Romance languages.’
    • ‘Such a society will see reality as something to be improved upon, perfected, transmuted into images.’
    • ‘The ‘new’ had transmuted into the old almost overnight.’
    • ‘Indeed, history itself is often not taught, being dumped instead into the soft-study mishmash called social studies or transmuted into half-baked courses in civics.’
    • ‘It continues to run on the goggle-box and now has transmuted into a stage show.’
    • ‘We see, here, a politics of masculinity, its currency that of resentment transmuted into exaggerated self-assertion.’
    • ‘He could transmute wispy ideas into detailed plans and turn revolutionary dreams into enduring realities.’
    • ‘Though despair at his material sometimes makes him bellow, he gives a bravura performance that transmutes pointlessness into poignancy.’
    • ‘That system transmutes disaster into mass death.’
    • ‘Much of the labour of our minds, conscious and unconscious, consists in transmuting Sentiments into Ideas.’
    • ‘This sense of connectedness, it has been suggested, is transmuted beyond the individualistic to the universal in spiritual individuals, manifested in a compassionate concern for all humankind.’
    • ‘The 1970s was a period when the Powellism of the 1960s came to suffuse the social fabric, and was gradually consolidated and transmuted into the Thatcherism of the 1980s.’
    alter, make different, become different, undergo a change, make alterations to, adjust, make adjustments to, adapt, turn, amend, improve, modify, convert, revise, recast, reform, reshape, refashion, redesign, restyle, revamp, rework, remake, remodel, remould, redo, reconstruct, reorganize, reorder, refine, reorient, reorientate, vary, transform, transfigure, metamorphose, undergo a sea change, evolve
    change, alter, adapt, modify, transform, transfigure, convert, metamorphose, mutate, reconstruct, remake, recast, reorganize, translate
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with object Subject (base metals) to alchemical transmutation.
      ‘the quest to transmute lead into gold’
      • ‘The conventional image of Paracelsus himself as the ultimate mystic who sought to transmute base metals into gold and to create homunculi must be re-evaluated.’
      • ‘I take all of this lead and transmute it, by my art, into finest gold…’
      • ‘If so, then Hermeticism could have to do with transmuting the ‘lead’ of ordinary experience into the ‘gold’ of consciousness.’
      • ‘Subsequently, Dippel turned to alchemy and claimed to have discovered a secret formula by which he transmuted silver and mercury into pure gold.’
      • ‘Alchemists never transmuted metals, never found a panacea, and never discovered the fountain of youth.’
      • ‘The alchemists of today are those nuclear chemists who routinely transmute uranium to plutonium by bombarding uranium with neutrons.’
      • ‘It is the open sesame to every portal, the great equalizer in the world, the true philosopher's stone which transmutes all the base metal of humanity into gold.’
      • ‘Robert was especially taken with the stories that had grown up around the alchemist Nicholas Flamel, who it was said had transmuted mercury to silver half a millennium earlier.’
      • ‘Like the Stone, the Elixir could transmute base metals to gold.’
      • ‘Perhaps you can pay the surcharge in lead and someone in the back will transmute it into gold.’
      • ‘Others purported to have transmuted metals or concocted elixirs and sold their recipes to others.’
      • ‘Elements of occultism were reflected in claims of ability to prolong life and transmute metals.’
      • ‘The elixir is the Philosopher's Stone, the object which will transmute base metals into silver and gold, but also has the power of restoring health, curing all diseases.’
      • ‘I brew potions and can occasionally transmute lead to gold.’
      • ‘In alchemy, the production of the Philosopher's Stone that could transmute lead to gold, and confer immortality.’
      • ‘Alchemists, the tales go, sought to use a magical philosopher's stone to transmute lead into gold.’


Late Middle English: from Latin transmutare, from trans- ‘across’ + mutare ‘to change’.