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[muh-tas-tuh-sis] /məˈtæs tə sɪs/
noun, plural metastases
[muh-tas-tuh-seez] /məˈtæs təˌsiz/ (Show IPA)
  1. the transference of disease-producing organisms or of malignant or cancerous cells to other parts of the body by way of the blood or lymphatic vessels or membranous surfaces.
  2. the condition produced by this.
transformation (def 3).
Rhetoric. a rapid transition, as from one subject to another.
Physics. a change in position or orbit of an elementary particle.
Origin of metastasis
1580-90; < Greek metástasis a changing. See meta-, stasis
Related forms
[met-uh-stat-ik] /ˌmɛt əˈstæt ɪk/ (Show IPA),
metastatically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for metastatic
  • metastatic tumour cells-those which have spread from the site of the original tumour-migrate faster than other cells.
  • Both primary and secondary metastatic bone cancer are recognizable as malformations that can be spotted in skeletal remains.
  • Leopold proves the existence of such general infection by means of the dulness, which thus suggests a metastatic lesion.
  • There has been no recurrent melanoma or metastatic disease.
  • Any one who understand cancer biology would know that tough part of cancer treatment is metastatic tumor.
  • Including every proto-oncogene as you suggest will certainly result in a metastatic tumor formation.
  • Those treatments may make it less important to remove lymph nodes containing metastatic cells.
  • Researchers injected different doses of the virus into patients with different types of metastatic cancers.
  • Clinical detection of these spreading, or metastatic, cancer cells is problematic.
  • metastatic cancer to the lung is cancer that starts somewhere else in the body and spreads to the lungs.
British Dictionary definitions for metastatic


noun (pl) -ses (-ˌsiːz)
(pathol) the spreading of a disease, esp cancer cells, from one part of the body to another
a transformation or change, as in rhetoric, from one point to another
a rare word for metabolism
Derived Forms
metastatic (ˌmɛtəˈstætɪk) adjective
metastatically, adverb
Word Origin
C16: via Latin from Greek: transition
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 metastatic



1570s, originally in rhetoric, from Late Latin metastasis "transition," from Greek metastasis "a removing, removal; migration; a changing; change, revolution," from methistanai "to remove, change," from meta- "over, across" (see meta-) + histanai "to place, cause to stand," from PIE root *sta- "to stand" (see stet). A rhetorical term in Late Latin for "a sudden transition in subjects," medical use for "shift of disease from one part of the body to another" dates from 1660s in English. Related: Metastatic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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metastatic in Medicine

metastasis me·tas·ta·sis (mə-tās'tə-sĭs)
n. pl. me·tas·ta·ses (-sēz')

  1. Transmission of pathogenic microorganisms or cancerous cells from an original site to one or more sites elsewhere in the body, usually by way of the blood vessels or lymphatics.

  2. A secondary cancerous growth formed by transmission of cancerous cells from a primary growth located elsewhere in the body.

met'a·stat'ic (mět'ə-stāt'ĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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metastatic in Science
A cancerous tumor formed by transmission of malignant cells from a primary cancer located elsewhere in the body.

metastasize verb
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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