If your teenage cousin was only seven the last time you saw her, you might describe her as having undergone a transfiguration, or an enormous physical change.

When a person's appearance changes dramatically, that's one kind of transfiguration. A magician changing a dove into a bouquet of flowers also performs a transfiguration. The word shows up frequently in religious writing as well, describing a more spiritual kind of change. In fact, the origin of transfiguration is mostly religious. While the Latin root, transfigurare, means "change the shape of," transfiguration was first used in English to mean "the change in appearance of Christ."

Definitions of transfiguration

n a striking change in appearance or character or circumstances

Type of:
alteration, revision
the act of revising or altering (involving reconsideration and modification)

n the act of transforming so as to exalt or glorify

Type of:
transformation, translation
the act of changing in form or shape or appearance

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.