Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


Of, relating to, or being an unstable but relatively long-lived state of a chemical or physical system, as of a supersaturated solution or an excited atom.

met′a·sta·bil′i·ty (-stə-bĭl′ĭ-tē) n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(ˌmɛtəˈsteɪbəl) physics
1. (General Physics) (of a body or system) having a state of apparent equilibrium although capable of changing to a more stable state
2. (General Physics) (of an atom, molecule, ion, or atomic nucleus) existing in an excited state with a relatively long lifetime
(General Physics) a metastable atom, ion, molecule, or nucleus
ˌmetastaˈbility n
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈmɛt əˌsteɪ bəl, ˌmɛt əˈsteɪ-)

1. Metall. chemically unstable in the absence of certain conditions that would induce stability, but not liable to spontaneous transformation.
2. Physics, Chem. pertaining to a body or system that requires the addition of a small amount of energy to induce a transition to a more stable state at a lower energy level.
met`a•sta•bil′i•ty (-stəˈbɪl ɪ ti) n.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


Describes a system which appears to be stable, but which can undergo a rapid change if disturbed.
Dictionary of Unfamiliar Words by Diagram Group Copyright © 2008 by Diagram Visual Information Limited
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.metastable - (of physical systems) continuing in its present state of equilibrium unless sufficiently disturbed to pass to a more stable state of equilibrium
natural philosophy, physics - the science of matter and energy and their interactions; "his favorite subject was physics"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Summary: [170 Pages Report] Titanium Alloys Market research report categorizes the global market by Micro Structure (Alpha Alloys, Near Alpha Alloys, Alpha + Beta Alloys, Metastable Beta Alloys), By Grade Type (Grade 5, Grade 23, Grade 12, Grade 6), By End Use (Aerospace & Defence, Power Generation industry, Chemical Processing, Automotive, Marine, Fashion & Apparel, Oil & Gas Processing, Biomedical, Architectural, Sports, Other End Use), & By Region.
The results of this study suggest that before entering cells, albumin primes the virus to form a metastable yet infectious intermediate particle.
"Iran now exports technetium generator (or colloquially a technetium cow or moly cow, a device used to extract the metastable isotope 99mTc of technetium from a source of decaying molybdenum-99) to many countries and if we can produce molybdenum, we will become fully self-sufficient in this area and of course, today we have had many successes in radio medicine production technology," Saqari said.
Sintering helps in recrystallizing the nanostructure and causes a shift from an excited metastable (activated) state into a low-energy crystalline state.
It is possible to predict the main intermetallic phases that are present: FeAl, [Fe.sub.3]Al, Fe[Al.sub.2], [Fe.sub.2][Al.sub.5], Fe[Al.sub.3] and [Fe.sub.2][Al.sub.9] and Fe[Al.sub.6] metastable phases.
found that with rapid pressurization, the metastable structure can be effectively induced from melt in large volume for many kinds of materials, such as pure amorphous PET, nanocrystalline selenium, and metallic glasses [19,20].
Polymers, polymorphic substances and many composites and blends have metastable structures that depend on the cooling conditions used in their production.
EndolucinBeta does not contain metastable 177mLu, thus, there is no need of logistics and storage of contaminated radioactive waste.
In general, if these transitions (metastable state) are involved in the continuous flow of mental processes and contribute in the formation of new information, they should be detected under conscious states, reflecting a dynamical view of the coupling behaviour.
Our study predicted the existence of a metastable structure of ODC(I) for the first time in literature.
When the melt cools rapidly, the liquid-phase separation occurs, thus leading to solidification below the liquid metastable miscibility gap.