- any remains, impression, or trace of a living thing of a former geologic age, as a skeleton, footprint, etc.
- a markedly outdated or old-fashioned person or thing.
- a linguistic form that is archaic except in certain restricted contexts, as nonce in for the nonce, or that follows a rule or pattern that is no longer productive, as the sentence So be it.
- of the nature of a fossil: fossil insects.
- belonging to a past epoch or discarded system; antiquated: a fossil approach to economics.
Origin of fossil
Examples from the Web for fossil
And given the current glut in fossil fuels, it might even be a better economic bet to wait a few years.New York’s Conservative Fracking Ban
December 20, 2014
They believe that companies trafficking in fossil fuels will eventually face financial problems.Why the Rockefellers Rejected Big Oil
September 24, 2014
The black market trade in fossils stolen from the richest Cretaceous fossil locality in the world has prompted a crackdown.
Under Mongolian law, any fossil specimen found in the Gobi Desert must stay in the possession of a Mongolian institution.
But when it comes to energy, divestment from coal or fossil fuels is much more symbolic—and not very meaningful.Why Stanford Should Keep Its Coal Stocks
May 15, 2014
No, not a vestage of the fossil is there, not a skull, not a shinbone.The Book of Khalid
If he turns his attention to fossil animals, he is a palaeontologist.On the Study of Zoology
Thomas H. Huxley
It was no more fossil than I am; but they call it fossil when it is dug up.Heart of Darkness
Instead of which the fossil was what he always had been—just one too many.The Paliser case
Their base is Copal, a fossil, resinous substance of vegetable origin.Handwork in Wood
- a relic, remnant, or representation of an organism that existed in a past geological age, or of the activity of such an organism, occurring in the form of mineralized bones, shells, etc, as casts, impressions, and moulds, and as frozen perfectly preserved organisms
- (as modifier)fossil insects
- informal, derogatory
- a person, idea, thing, etc, that is outdated or incapable of change
- (as modifier)fossil politicians
- linguistics a form once current but now appearing only in one or two special contexts, as for example stead, which is found now only in instead (of) and in phrases like in his stead
- obsolete any rock or mineral dug out of the earth
Word Origin and History for fossil
1610s, "any thing dug up;" 1650s (adj.) "obtained by digging," from French fossile (16c.), from Latin fossilis "dug up," from fossus, past participle of fodere "to dig," from PIE root *bhedh- "to dig, pierce."
Restricted noun sense of "geological remains of a plant or animal" is from 1736; slang meaning "old person" first recorded 1859. Fossil fuel (1835) preserves the earlier, broader sense.
- The remains or imprint of an organism from a previous geologic time. A fossil can consist of the preserved tissues of an organism, as when encased in amber, ice, or pitch, or more commonly of the hardened relic of such tissues, as when organic matter is replaced by dissolved minerals. Hardened fossils are often found in layers of sedimentary rock and along the beds of rivers that flow through them. See also index fossil microfossil trace fossil.
The evidence in rock of the presence of a plant or an animal from an earlier geological period. Fossils are formed when minerals in groundwater replace materials in bones and tissue, creating a replica in stone of the original organism or of their tracks. The study of fossils is the domain of paleontology. The oldest fossils (of bacteria) are 3.8 billion years old.