Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To alter the outward appearance of; transform. See Synonyms at convert.
  • transitive v. To exalt or glorify.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To transform the outward appearance of something; to convert into a different form, state or substance.
  • v. To glorify or exalt something or someone.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To change the outward form or appearance of; to metamorphose; to transform.
  • transitive v. Especially, to change to something exalted and glorious; to give an ideal form to.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To transform; change the outward form or appearance of: specifically used of the transfiguration of Christ.
  • To give an elevated or glorified appearance or character to; elevate and glorify; idealize: often with direct or indirect allusion to the transfiguration of Christ.
  • Synonyms Transmute, etc. See transform.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. elevate or idealize, in allusion to Christ's transfiguration
  • v. change completely the nature or appearance of

Etymologies

Middle English transfiguren, from Old French transfigurer, from Latin trānsfigūrāre : trāns-, trans- + figūra, form; see dheigh- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • The word transfigure means, to change the appearance or form.

    Barnes New Testament Notes

  • Parris describes this as music's power to "transfigure": "I am already forgetting what Gordon Brown said to his conference in Bournemouth this week.

    The enchantment of the transcendent

  • Ai spent those same years scavenging Beijing's back alleys and antique shops for Silk Road materials he could transfigure into art, like Marcel Duchamp once did with a urinal or Andy Warhol did with a soup can.

    The Art of Resistance

  • The answer may still be no, but either way the duo of John Flansburgh and John Linnell have come to own their quirks and transfigure them into a lasting kind of cool.

    Wing It Out Loud Around Town

  • Above all, that meant the end of the idea of the artist as shaman, a person able to transform and transfigure, who could conjure one thing, a work of art, out of another, its raw materials and constituent parts.

    A Magical Metamorphosis of the Ordinary

  • Or, more, a crusade — to invent a new culture for quasi-public schools and transfigure inner-city education in New York.

    The Saint (and Scourge) of Schools «

  • Ben also confessed to her that he tried for years to "pray the gay away," but he's done trying to transfigure himself now.

    Samara O'Shea: Pray The Gay Away?

  • However, within the spiritual experience, we can know something for a MOMENT and that MOMENT is all it takes to transfigure our life forever, to alter our relationship to everything, and change us in the deepest sanctum of our being.

    Natasha Dern: Knowing: The Power Of Spiritual Reality

  • Thus began a process designed to transfigure the past sages of Israel into heroes of quasi-divine dimensions.

    David Shasha: Two Models of Jewish Tradition: Vertical-Hierarchical and Horizontal Pluralist

  • Perhaps Mr. Cameron understands clearly what he means by it, but as an animating idea it still remains too vague to transfigure government-paid summer camp into something more noble than what it is.

    The Big Society Goes Camping

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