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[pe-truh s, pee-] /ˈpɛ trəs, ˈpi-/
Anatomy. noting or pertaining to the hard dense portion of the temporal bone, containing the internal auditory organs; petrosal.
like stone, especially in hardness; stony; rocky.
Origin of petrous
1350-1400; Middle English (< Middle French petros) < Latin petrōsus rocky. See petr-, -ous
Related forms
superpetrous, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for petrous


/ˈpɛtrəs; ˈpiː-/
(anatomy) denoting the dense part of the temporal bone that surrounds the inner ear
(rare) like rock or stone
Word Origin
C16: from Latin petrōsus full of rocks
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for petrous

1540s, from Middle French petreux, from Latin petrosus "stony," from petra "rock," from Greek petra "rock, cliff, ledge, shelf of rock, rocky ridge," of uncertain origin. Possibly from PIE root *per- "to lead, pass over," if the original meaning is "bedrock" and the notion is "what one comes through to" [Watkins].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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petrous in Medicine

petrous pet·rous (pět'rəs)

  1. Of stony hardness.

  2. Of or relating to the dense hard portion of the temporal bone that forms a protective case for the inner ear.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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