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metathesis

[muh-tath-uh-sis]
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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-buh l] /ˈkʌmf tər bəl/ for comfortable or [aks] /æks/ for ask.
  2. Chemistry. double decomposition.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for metathesis

Historical Examples

  • The metathesis may be due to association with the name Tankard (Tancred).

    The Romance of Words (4th ed.)

    Ernest Weekley

  • Three of the most important of these are assimilation, dissimilation, and metathesis.

  • Its oldest form, anelas, is a metathesis of the common Old Fr.

  • Metathesis of r is seen in unwerste 134; rr is simplified in for 328.

  • M (mutare, metathesis) means 'transpose the premises' (as of Camestres).

    Logic

    Carveth Read


British Dictionary definitions for metathesis

metathesis

noun plural -ses (-ˌsiːz)
  1. the transposition of two sounds or letters in a word
  2. chem another name for double decomposition
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Derived Formsmetathetic (ˌmɛtəˈθɛtɪk) or 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

Word Origin and History for metathesis

n.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

metathesis in Medicine

metathesis

(mĭ-tăthĭ-sĭs)
n. pl. me•tath•e•ses (-sēz′)
  1. Double decomposition of chemical compounds in which an element or radical of one compound exchanges places with another element or radical in another compound.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.