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See also: -morph



  • enPR: mô(r)f, IPA(key): /mɔː(ɹ)f/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɔː(ɹ)f

Etymology 1[edit]

Back-formation from morpheme, from Ancient Greek μορφή (morphḗ, form, shape). Compare German Morph, from Morphem. Attested since the 1940s.


morph (plural morphs)

  1. (grammar, linguistics) A recurrent distinctive sound or sequence of sounds representing an indivisible morphological form; especially as representing a morpheme.
  2. (linguistics) An allomorph: one of a set of realizations that a morpheme can have in different contexts.
Derived terms[edit]


Etymology 2[edit]

Back-formation from morphism. Attested since the 1950s. See also morphology.


morph (plural morphs)

  1. (zoology) A variety of a species, distinguishable from other individuals of the species by morphology or behaviour.
    • 2010, T.J. Pandian, Sexuality in Fishes, page 51:
      Briefly, the yellow morphic males can change their status from paired to satellite and from satellite to the paired one. However, they cannot cross into the status of the red morph.


Etymology 3[edit]

Clipping of metamorphose


morph (third-person singular simple present morphs, present participle morphing, simple past and past participle morphed)

  1. (colloquial, transitive, intransitive, computer graphics) To change shape, from one form to another, through computer animation.
  2. (science fiction, fantasy) To shapeshift.
    • 1993, Peter David, The Siege:
      Meta leapt forward. In midair his lower half morphed, and suddenly he was one-half humanoid, one-half coiled spring.
    • 2015 January 30, Dan Shive, El Goonish Shive - EGS:NP (webcomic), Comic for Friday, Jan 30, 2015:
      "Would it reflect badly on women if I morphed my bust size up a bit for it? Sorta like wearing a padded bra?"
  3. (by extension) To undergo dramatic change in a seamless and barely noticeable fashion.
    • June 18 2013, Simon Romero, “Protests Widen as Brazilians Chide Leaders”, in New York Times[1], retrieved 21 June 2013:
      By the time politicians in several cities backed down on Tuesday and announced that they would cut or consider reducing fares, the demonstrations had already morphed into a more sweeping social protest, with marchers waving banners carrying slogans like “The people have awakened.”
    • 2014, Astra Taylor, quoting Richard Florida, chapter 2, in The People's Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age, Henry Holt and Company, →ISBN:
      “Highbrow and lowbrow, alternative and mainstream, work and play, CEO and hipster are all morphing together today,” [Richard] Florida enthuses.


morph (plural morphs)

  1. A computer-generated gradual change from one image to another.
    • 2000, Vivian Carol Sobchack, Meta Morphing, page 123:
      But what is this metasubstance that blinks at us from the apex of the morph, and that in Terminator 2 is hyperbolized in the quicksilver substratum of the T-1000?

Etymology 4[edit]

Clipping of morphine


morph (uncountable)

  1. (slang) morphine
    • 2008, Donald Bodey, F.N.G., page 103:
      They're bringing you some morph before long. [] The tube has its own needle, and the medic jabs it in like he has done it a million times, then marks Chickenfeed's forehead so the Rear will know he's already had morphine.

Etymology 5[edit]

Clipping of morphodite


morph (plural morphs)

  1. A hermaphrodite, an intersex person.
    • 1990 April 7, Roy Vance, “Personal advertisement”, in Gay Community News, page 18:
      I am seeking to correspond with a TV [transvestite] or a natural morph. I want them to be passive (I'm totally non-violent) but open in feelings and ideas. I need no financial support, only moral support from a person with small sex parts.

Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]