[met-uh-stey-buh l, met-uh-stey-]
- Metallurgy. chemically unstable in the absence of certain conditions that would induce stability, but not liable to spontaneous transformation.
- Also labile. Physics, Chemistry. pertaining to a body or system existing at an energy level (metastable state) above that of a more stable state and requiring the addition of a small amount of energy to induce a transition to the more stable state.
Origin of metastable
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for metastable
It's a metastable state at best, all too likely to collapse into tyranny.The Sensitive Man
Poul William Anderson
To this fact van't Hoff attributes the great permanence of many really unstable (or metastable) carbon compounds.
This law explains the formation of the metastable forms of monotropic substances, which would otherwise not be obtainable.
At any point outside this area, monoclinic sulphur can exist only in a metastable condition.
Two of these solutions, however, would be metastable and supersaturated with respect to the decahydrate.
- (of a body or system) having a state of apparent equilibrium although capable of changing to a more stable state
- (of an atom, molecule, ion, or atomic nucleus) existing in an excited state with a relatively long lifetime
- a metastable atom, ion, molecule, or nucleus
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