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See more synonyms for metastasize on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object), me·tas·ta·sized, me·tas·ta·siz·ing.
  1. Pathology. (of malignant cells or disease-producing organisms) to spread to other parts of the body by way of the blood or lymphatic vessels or membranous surfaces.
  2. to spread injuriously: Street gangs have metastasized in our city.
  3. to transform, especially into a dangerous form: The KGB metastasized after the fall of the Soviet Union. Truth metastasized into lurid fantasy.
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Also especially British, me·tas·ta·sise.

Origin of metastasize

First recorded in 1905–10; metastas(is) + -ize
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

permeate, drain, clean, leak, winnow, sift, refine, percolate, penetrate, trickle, dribble, clarify, screen, purify, distill, strain, ooze, escape, sieve, exude

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British Dictionary definitions for metastasize



verb (intr)
  1. pathol (esp of cancer cells) to spread to a new site in the body via blood or lymph vessels
  2. (of a problem) to deteriorate or spread into new areas
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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

Word Origin and History for metastasize

1826, from metastasis + -ize. Related: Metastasized; metastasizing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

metastasize in Medicine


  1. To be transmitted or transferred by or as if by metastasis.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

metastasize in Science


  1. A cancerous tumor formed by transmission of malignant cells from a primary cancer located elsewhere in the body.
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Related formsmetastasize verb
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.