- noun the existence of different forms during the life cycle of an organism, as in the example of a butterfly, which exists as a caterpillar, then a pupa, before becoming a butterfly
- noun the existence of different forms of an organism in a social system, as in the example of bees, which exist as workers, queens and drones
- The occurrence of different forms or shapes.
- In object oriented programming, the ability to behave differently, or elicit a different response, depending on the circumstances. For example, a routine may be handled in a given manner depending on the characteristics of an object.