Definition: to change something into something else
From “trans” which means “on the other side of” and the Latin verb “mutare” which means “to change.” Thus, “transmute” means “to complete or effect a change” – get “on the other side of” a change.
Why I Looked It Up
In a book about storytelling:
…[the Civil War] was transmuted after the surrender at Appomattox into the “Lost Cause,” a doomed yet noble campaign to preserve a way of life marked by chivalry and crinolines.
I had also seen the word from various fantasy books – wizards are known to “transmute” people into frogs, for example. And metallurgists have, for years, attempted to transmute other metals into goal.