[trans-myoo-tey-shuhn, tranz-]
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.

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

transmutational, transmutative [trans-myoo-tuh-tiv, tranz-] , adjective
transmutationist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
transmutation (ˌtrænzmjuːˈteɪʃən)
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
n, —adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

c.1380, from O.Fr. transmutation (12c.), from L.L. transmutationem (nom. transmutatio) "a change, shift," noun of action from L. transmutare "change from one condition to another," from trans- "thoroughly" + mutare "to change" (see mutable). A word from alchemy.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

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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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
transmutation   (trāns'my-tā'shən)  Pronunciation Key 
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 Britannica


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.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
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.
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