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Pronunciation: kon-ver'zhun


  1. A defense mechanism conceptualized by Freud, building on the work of Briquet and Charcot, by which unconscious conflict or repressed thought is expressed symbolically, or somatically.
  2. In virology, the acquisition by bacteria of a new property associated with the presence of a prophage.

Synonym(s): transmutation

[L. con-verto, pp. -versus, to turn around, to change]

See Also: somatoform disorder, conversion disorder, hysteria

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