I am looking for a word or phrase to express the idea of making one thing into an entirely new, better thing.

To give a little bit of context, this is in reference to recycling and upcycling.

  • How about recyling? Reshaping? Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 19:16
  • 1
    Transformation? Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 19:18
  • 1
    You can start your search by looking up a word such as "change" and then search for synonyms. Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 19:29
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    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 18:37

3 Answers 3


Repurposing would certainly apply to the context of recycling.


Perhaps revamp is an appropriate term here. Although not associated with recycling per se it really captures the improvement bit.

Give new and improved form, structure, or appearance to:
an attempt to revamp the museum’s image
(as adjective revamped) a revamped magazine



I would suggest transmogrify:

transmogrify ‎(third-person singular simple present transmogrifies, present participle transmogrifying, simple past and past participle transmogrified)

  1. (transitive) To completely alter the form of.
  2. (intransitive) To completely alter one's form.

This word was used by Bill Watterson in his comics Calvin and Hobbes as a name for an imaginary invention which can completely alter one thing into another: the transmogrifier.

  • There is no requirement of 'a better thing' here. Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 22:14
  • @EdwinAshworth that's fair; it was merely an alternative idea for OP's use if they wanted it. My original suggestion would've been "revamp", but that had already been submitted. :) Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 22:23
  • Alternative ideas should be confined to 'comments' unless directly requested. OP here requests the 'better' constraint. Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 22:58

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