September 13, 2012
metamorphosis (noun)
\met-uh-MOR-fuh-sis\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : a change of physical form, structure, or substance especially by supernatural means; also, a striking alteration (as in appearance or character)2 : a fundamental change in form and often habits of an animal accompanying the transformation of a larva into an adult
How do you use it?
As part of her science class, Karen was able to witness the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly.
Are you a word wiz?

One of the roots of "metamorphosis" -- and a number of other English words -- is the Greek noun "morphe." What do you think "morphe" means?

If D took shape in your mind as the right answer, you're right! "Metamorphosis" comes from the Greek word "metamorphoun," meaning "to transform." This word is in turn a combination of the Greek prefix "meta-," here meaning "after," and the Greek noun "morphe," meaning "shape" or "form." Greek mythology is filled with tales of people who are transformed by the gods into trees or animals. Other members of the "morphe" family include "amorphous," which means "having no fixed form or shape," and "morphology" which is the study of the form and structure of animals and plants.
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