1. a series of mythological tales or legends in verse (a.d. 7–8) by Ovid.

verb (used with object), met·a·mor·phosed, met·a·mor·phos·ing.

  1. to change the form or nature of; transform.
  2. to subject to metamorphosis or metamorphism.

verb (used without object), met·a·mor·phosed, met·a·mor·phos·ing.

  1. to undergo or be capable of undergoing a change in form or nature.

noun, plural met·a·mor·pho·ses [met-uhmawr-fuh-seez] /ˌmɛt əˈmɔr fəˌsiz/.

  1. Biology. a profound change in form from one stage to the next in the life history of an organism, as from the caterpillar to the pupa and from the pupa to the adult butterfly.Compare complete metamorphosis.
  2. a complete change of form, structure, or substance, as transformation by magic or witchcraft.
  3. any complete change in appearance, character, circumstances, etc.
  4. a form resulting from any such change.
  5. Pathology.
    1. a type of alteration or degeneration in which tissues are changed: fatty metamorphosis of the liver.
    2. the resultant form.
  6. Botany. the structural or functional modification of a plant organ or structure during its development.


  1. to undergo or cause to undergo metamorphosis or metamorphism

noun plural -ses (-ˌsiːz)

  1. a complete change of physical form or substance
  2. a complete change of character, appearance, etc
  3. a person or thing that has undergone metamorphosis
  4. zoology the rapid transformation of a larva into an adult that occurs in certain animals, for example the stage between tadpole and frog or between chrysalis and butterfly

n.1530s, “change of form or shape,” especially by witchcraft, from Latin metamorphosis, from Greek metamorphosis “a transforming, a transformation,” from metamorphoun “to transform, to be transfigured,” from meta- “change” (see meta-) + morphe “form” (see Morpheus). Biological sense is from 1660s. As the title of Ovid’s work, late 14c., Metamorphoseos, from Latin Metamorphoses (plural). v.1570s, from Middle French métamorphoser (16c.), from métamorphose (n.), from Latin metamorphosis (see metamorphosis). Related: Metamorphosed. The Greek verb was metamorphoun. n. pl. met•a•mor•pho•ses (-sēz′)

  1. A marked change in appearance, character, condition, or function.transformation
  2. A change in the form and often habits of an animal during normal development after the embryonic stage. Metamorphosis includes, in insects, the transformation of a maggot into an adult fly and a caterpillar into a butterfly and, in amphibians, the changing of a tadpole into a frog.
  3. A usually degenerative pathological change in the structure of a particular body tissue.

  1. Dramatic change in the form and often the habits of an animal during its development after birth or hatching. The transformation of a maggot into an adult fly and of a tadpole into an adult frog are examples of metamorphosis. The young of such animals are called larvae.

A long poem by the ancient Roman poet Ovid, in which he relates numerous stories from classical mythology. Many of the stories deal with miraculous transformations, or metamorphoses. A change in an animal as it grows, particularly a radical change, such as the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly.

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