[ muh-tath-uh-sis ]
/ məˈtæθ ə sɪs /

noun, plural me·tath·e·ses [muh-tath-uh-seez] /məˈtæθ əˌsiz/.

the transposition of letters, syllables, or sounds in a word, as in the pronunciation [kuhmf-ter-buh l] /ˈkʌmf tər bəl/ for comfortable or [aks] /æks/ for ask.

Origin of metathesis

1600–10; < Late Latin: transposition of letters of a word < Greek metáthesis transposition. See meta-, thesis
Related formsmet·a·thet·ic [met-uh-thet-ik] /ˌmɛt əˈθɛt ɪk/, met·a·thet·i·cal, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for metathesis

British Dictionary definitions for metathesis


/ (mɪˈtæθəsɪs) /

noun plural -ses (-ˌsiːz)

the transposition of two sounds or letters in a word
chem another name for double decomposition
Derived Formsmetathetic (ˌmɛtəˈθɛtɪk) or metathetical, adjective

Word Origin for metathesis

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

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

Medicine definitions for metathesis


[ mĭ-tăthĭ-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.