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metastable

[met-uh-stey-buh l, met-uh-stey-] /ˈmɛt əˌsteɪ bəl, ˌmɛt əˈsteɪ-/
adjective
1.
Metallurgy. chemically unstable in the absence of certain conditions that would induce stability, but not liable to spontaneous transformation.
2.
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
1895-1900
First recorded in 1895-1900; meta- + stable2
Related forms
metastability
[met-uh-stuh-bil-i-tee] /ˌmɛt ə stəˈbɪl ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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British Dictionary definitions for metastable

metastable

/ˌmɛtəˈsteɪbəl/
adjective
1.
(of a body or system) having a state of apparent equilibrium although capable of changing to a more stable state
2.
(of an atom, molecule, ion, or atomic nucleus) existing in an excited state with a relatively long lifetime
noun
3.
a metastable atom, ion, molecule, or nucleus
Derived Forms
metastability, noun
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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