A person who paraphrases a literary work or puts a composition into a different literary form, e.g. by turning prose into verse, or one metre into another. Also: a translator, especially one who makes a literal, word-for-word translation.
Originally with reference to St Simeon Metaphrastes (fl. 960), a Byzantine hagiographer who modernized the style and presentation of the lives which he collected and edited.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Philemon Holland (1552–1637), translator. From post-classical Latin metaphrastes from Byzantine Greek μεταϕράστης from Hellenistic Greek μεταϕράζειν + -της, suffix forming agent nouns.