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[muh-tath-uh-sis] /məˈtæθ ə sɪs/
noun, plural metatheses
[muh-tath-uh-seez] /məˈtæθ əˌsiz/ (Show IPA)
the transposition of letters, syllables, or sounds in a word, as in the pronunciation
[kuhmf-ter-buh l] /ˈkʌmf tər bəl/ (Show IPA)
for comfortable or
[aks] /æks/ (Show IPA)
for ask.
Chemistry. double decomposition.
Origin of metathesis
1600-10; < Late Latin: transposition of letters of a word < Greek metáthesis transposition. See meta-, thesis
Related forms
[met-uh-thet-ik] /ˌmɛt əˈθɛt ɪk/ (Show IPA),
metathetical, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for metathesis


noun (pl) -ses (-ˌsiːz)
the transposition of two sounds or letters in a word
(chem) another name for double decomposition
Derived Forms
metathetic (ˌmɛtəˈθɛtɪk), metathetical, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin, from Greek, from metatithenai to transpose
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 metathesis

1570s, "transposition of letters in a word;" c.1600, "rhetorical transposition of words," from Late Latin metathesis, from Greek metathesis "change of position, transposition, change of opinion," from stem of metatithenai "to transpose," from meta- "to change" (see meta-) + tithenai "to place, set," from PIE root *dhe- "to put, to do" (see factitious). Plural is metatheses. Related: Metathetic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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metathesis in Medicine

metathesis me·tath·e·sis (mĭ-tāth'ĭ-sĭs)
n. pl. me·tath·e·ses (-sēz')
Double decomposition of chemical compounds in which an element or radical of one compound exchanges places with another element or radical in another compound.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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