[ muh-tath-uh-sis ]

noun,plural me·tath·e·ses [muh-tath-uh-seez]. /məˈtæθ əˌsiz/.
  1. the transposition of letters, syllables, or sounds in a word, as in the pronunciation [kuhmf-ter-buhl] /ˈkʌmf tər bəl/ for comfortable or [aks] /æks/ for ask.

Origin of metathesis

First recorded in 1530–40; from Late Latin: literally, “transposition of letters of a word,” from Greek metáthesis “transposition, change”; see meta-, thesis

Other words from metathesis

  • met·a·thet·ic [met-uh-thet-ik], /ˌmɛt əˈθɛt ɪk/, met·a·thet·i·cal, adjective

Words Nearby metathesis Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use metathesis in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for metathesis


/ (mɪˈtæθəsɪs) /

nounplural -ses (-ˌsiːz)
  1. the transposition of two sounds or letters in a word

  2. chem another name for double decomposition

Origin of metathesis

C16: from Late Latin, from Greek, from metatithenai to transpose

Derived forms of metathesis

  • metathetic (ˌmɛtəˈθɛtɪk) or metathetical, adjective

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