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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).
metamorphosis met·a·mor·pho·sis (mět'ə-môr'fə-sĭs)
n. pl. met·a·mor·pho·ses (-sēz')
A marked change in appearance, character, condition, or function. Also called transformation.
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.
A usually degenerative pathological change in the structure of a particular body tissue.
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 change in an animal as it grows, particularly a radical change, such as the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly.