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transmutation

[trans-myoo-tey-shuh n, tranz-] /ˌtræns myuˈteɪ ʃən, ˌtrænz-/
noun
1.
the act or process of transmuting.
2.
the fact or state of being transmuted.
3.
change into another nature, substance, form, or condition.
4.
Biology. the transformation of one species into another.
Compare transformism.
5.
Physics. any process in which a nuclide is transformed into a different nuclide, usually one of a different element.
6.
Alchemy. the supposed conversion of base metals into metals of greater value, especially into gold or silver.
Origin
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English transmutacio(u)n (< Old French transmutation) < Latin trānsmūtātiōn- (stem of trānsmūtātiō) a changing, shifting, equivalent to trānsmūtāt(us) (past participle of trānsmūtāre to change) + -iōn- -ion. See transmute, -ation
Related forms
transmutational, transmutative
[trans-myoo-tuh-tiv, tranz-] /trænsˈmyu tə tɪv, trænz-/ (Show IPA),
adjective
transmutationist, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for transmutation
  • The great aim of alchemy was the transmutation of base metals into gold.
  • Maria and her colleagues were more interested in the secrets of life and the transmutation of elements than in getting wasted.
  • Transplantation of many forms from one intact society to another results in modest but discernible transmutation.
  • Then he moved on to claims of nuclear fusion and the transmutation of elements.
  • But the transmutation happens not in the philosopher's alembic but in our beguiled eye.
  • Thus, for the first time, a nuclear transmutation was produced by means entirely under human control.
  • It is to be followed by detailed lessons covering transmutation and atomic decay.
  • Many transmutation attempts failed when alchemists unwittingly made unstable chemicals.
British Dictionary definitions for transmutation

transmutation

/ˌtrænzmjuːˈteɪʃən/
noun
1.
the act or an instance of transmuting
2.
the change of one chemical element into another by a nuclear reaction
3.
the attempted conversion, by alchemists, of base metals into gold or silver
Derived Forms
transmutational, transmutative, adjective
transmutationist, noun, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for transmutation
n.

late 14c., from Old French transmutation (12c.), from Late Latin transmutationem (nominative transmutatio) "a change, shift," noun of action from Latin transmutare "change from one condition to another," from trans- "thoroughly" (see trans-) + mutare "to change" (see mutable). A word from alchemy.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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transmutation in Medicine

transmutation trans·mu·ta·tion (trāns'myōō-tā'shən, trānz'-)
n.

  1. A change; transformation.

  2. In physics, the transformation of one element into another by one or a series of nuclear reactions.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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transmutation in Science
transmutation
  (trāns'my-tā'shən)   
The changing of one chemical element into another. Transmutations occur naturally through radioactive decay, or artificially by bombarding the nucleus of a substance with subatomic particles.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for transmutation

conversion of one chemical element into another. A transmutation entails a change in the structure of atomic nuclei and hence may be induced by a nuclear reaction (q.v.), such as neutron capture, or occur spontaneously by radioactive decay, such as alpha decay and beta decay (qq.v.). Transmutation of base metals (such as mercury, tin, copper, lead) into precious metals (gold, silver) was long attempted by alchemists, who had no concept of the atomic nature of matter. Their experimentation led to discoveries of many important chemical reactions, but chemical reactions are not capable of effecting the nuclear changes required for transmutation.

Learn more about transmutation with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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