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[met-uh-mawr-fik] /ˌmɛt əˈmɔr fɪk/
pertaining to or characterized by change of form, or metamorphosis.
Geology. pertaining to or exhibiting structural change or metamorphism.
Origin of metamorphic
First recorded in 1810-20; meta- + -morphic
Related forms
nonmetamorphic, adjective
premetamorphic, adjective
unmetamorphic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for metamorphic
Historical Examples
  • The rocks of these ranges are primary and metamorphic, and the scenery is bold.

    A Tramp's Notebook Morley Roberts
  • In metamorphic rocks the difficulties are usually about as great.

    Geology William J. Miller
  • Crude petroleum is never found in metamorphic or igneous rocks.

    The A B C of Mining Charles A. Bramble
  • When they present these characteristics, we term them metamorphic Rocks.

  • Stratification of the metamorphic rocks distinct from cleavage.

  • The metamorphic strata, why less calcareous than the fossiliferous.

  • Immediately under this lies a stratum of "metamorphic" rocks.

  • How may granite be at one and the same time a metamorphic and igneous rock?

    Geology James Geikie
  • Granite is recognised as an igneous as well as a metamorphic rock.

    Geology James Geikie
  • Syenite, like granite, is recognised as an igneous as well as a metamorphic rock.

    Geology James Geikie
British Dictionary definitions for metamorphic


relating to or resulting from metamorphosis or metamorphism
(of rocks) altered considerably from their original structure and mineralogy by pressure and heat Compare igneous, sedimentary
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 metamorphic

1833 (Lyell) in the geological sense, in reference to rock whose form has been changed by heat or pressure, from metamorphosis + -ic. Earlier (1816) in non-technical sense "characterized by change."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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metamorphic in Science
  1. Zoology Relating to metamorphosis.

  2. Geology Relating to rocks that have undergone metamorphism. Metamorphic rocks are formed when igneous, sedimentary, or other metamorphic rocks undergo a physical change due to extreme heat and pressure. These changes often produce folded layers or banding in the rocks, and they can also cause pockets of precious minerals to form. The folds and banding can be produced by incomplete segregation of minerals during recrystallization, or they can be inherited from preexisting beds in sedimentary rocks or preexisting layers in igneous rocks. The precious minerals can form as the result of recrystallization when the rocks undergoing metamorphism are subjected to changes in pressure and temperature.

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