Etymology
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transform (v.)
Origin and meaning of transform

mid-14c., "change the form of" (transitive), from Old French transformer (14c.), from Latin transformare "change in shape, metamorphose," from trans "across, beyond" (see trans-) + formare "to form" (see form (v.)). Intransitive sense "undergo a change of form" is from 1590s. Related: Transformed; transforming.

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inflect (v.)

early 15c., "to bend inward," from Latin inflectere (past participle inflexus) "to bend in, bow, curve," figuratively, "to change, alter, influence," from in- "in" (see in- (1)) + flectere "to bend" (see flexible). Grammatical sense "to vary by change of form" (especially at the end of a word) is from 1660s. Related: Inflected; inflecting.

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switch (n.)
1590s, "slender riding whip," probably from a Flemish or Low German word akin to Middle Dutch swijch "bough, twig," or swutsche, variant of Low German zwukse "long thin stick, switch," from Germanic *swih- (source also of Old High German zwec "wooden peg," German Zweck "aim, design," originally "peg as a target," Zwick "wooden peg"), perhaps connected with PIE root *swei- (2) "to swing, bend, to turn."

The meaning "device for changing the direction of something or making or breaking a connection" is first recorded 1797. "The peg sense suits the mech(anical) applications" [Weekley]; also compare switchblade. These senses in English might be a direct borrowing from those senses in Continental Germanic languages rather than a continuation of the "pliant wand" sense. The meaning "a change from one to another, a reversal, an exchange, a substitution" is first recorded 1920; extended form switcheroo is by 1933.
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variant (adj.)
late 14c., "tending to change," from Old French variant and directly from Latin variantem (nominative varians), present participle of variare "to change" (see vary).
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cambium (n.)
1670s in botany, "layer of tissue between the wood and the bark," from Late Latin cambium "exchange," from Latin cambiare "change" (see change (v.)).
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alteration (n.)

late 14c., alteracioun, "change, transformation, action of altering," from Old French alteracion "change, alteration" (14c.), and directly from Medieval Latin alterationem (nominative alteratio), noun of action from past-participle stem of Late Latin alterare "to change," from Latin alter "the other (of the two)," from PIE root *al- (1) "beyond" + comparative suffix -ter (as in other). Meaning "change in character or appearance" is from 1530s; that of "change in ready-made clothes to suit a customer's specifications" is from 1901. Related: Alterations.

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variance (n.)
late 14c., "fact of undergoing change," from Old French variance "change, alteration; doubt, hesitation" and directly from Latin variantia, from stem of variare "to change" (see vary). Meaning "state of disagreement" is recorded from early 15c. The U.S. zoning sense of "official dispensation from a building regulation" is recorded from 1925.
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molt (v.)

also moult, c. 1400, mouten, of feathers, hair, etc., "to be shed, fall out," from Old English *mutian "to change" (in bemutian "to exchange"), from Latin mutare "to change" (from PIE root *mei- (1) "to change"). Transitive sense, "to shed or cast (feathers, fur, skin)" is by mid-15c. With unetymological -l-, late 16c., on model of fault, etc. Related: Molted, moulted; molting, moulting. As a noun, "act or process of shedding an outer structure or appendage," from 1815.

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transmute (v.)
late 14c., "transform the appearance of," from Latin transmutare "change from one condition to another," from trans "across, beyond; thoroughly" (see trans-) + mutare "to change" (from PIE root *mei- (1) "to change, go, move"). Related: Transmuted; transmuting.
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alter (v.)

late 14c., "to change (something), make different in some way," from Old French alterer "to change, alter," from Medieval Latin alterare "to change," from Latin alter "the other (of the two)," from PIE root *al- (1) "beyond" + comparative suffix -ter (as in other). Intransitive sense "to become otherwise" first recorded 1580s. Related: Altered; altering.

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