[trans-myoo-tey-shuh n, tranz-]
See more synonyms for transmutation on
  1. the act or process of transmuting.
  2. the fact or state of being transmuted.
  3. change into another nature, substance, form, or condition.
  4. Biology. the transformation of one species into another.Compare transformism.
  5. Physics. any process in which a nuclide is transformed into a different nuclide, usually one of a different element.
  6. Alchemy. the supposed conversion of base metals into metals of greater value, especially into gold or silver.

Origin of transmutation

1350–1400; Middle English transmutacio(u)n (< Old French transmutation) < Latin trānsmūtātiōn- (stem of trānsmūtātiō) a changing, shifting, equivalent to trānsmūtāt(us) (past participle of trānsmūtāre to change) + -iōn- -ion. See transmute, -ation
Related formstrans·mu·ta·tion·al, trans·mut·a·tive [trans-myoo-tuh-tiv, tranz-] /trænsˈmyu tə tɪv, trænz-/, adjectivetrans·mu·ta·tion·ist, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for transmutation

conversion, transfiguration, metamorphosis, alteration, mutation

British Dictionary definitions for transmutation


  1. the act or an instance of transmuting
  2. the change of one chemical element into another by a nuclear reaction
  3. the attempted conversion, by alchemists, of base metals into gold or silver
Derived Formstransmutational or transmutative, adjectivetransmutationist, noun, adjective
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 transmutation

late 14c., from Old French transmutation (12c.), from Late Latin transmutationem (nominative transmutatio) "a change, shift," noun of action from Latin transmutare "change from one condition to another," from trans- "thoroughly" (see trans-) + mutare "to change" (see mutable). A word from alchemy.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

transmutation in Medicine


[trăns′myōō-tāshən, trănz′-]
  1. A change; transformation.
  2. In physics, the transformation of one element into another by one or a series of nuclear reactions.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

transmutation in Science


  1. The changing of one chemical element into another. Transmutations occur naturally through radioactive decay, or artificially by bombarding the nucleus of a substance with subatomic particles.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.