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[trans-myoo-tey-shuh n, tranz-] /ˌtræns myuˈteɪ ʃən, ˌtrænz-/
the act or process of transmuting.
the fact or state of being transmuted.
change into another nature, substance, form, or condition.
Biology. the transformation of one species into another.
Compare transformism.
Physics. any process in which a nuclide is transformed into a different nuclide, usually one of a different element.
Alchemy. the supposed conversion of base metals into metals of greater value, especially into gold or silver.
Origin of transmutation
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),
transmutationist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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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


the act or an instance of transmuting
the change of one chemical element into another by a nuclear reaction
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

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'-)

  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
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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