[ fos-uh-lahyz ]
/ ˈfɒs əˌlaɪz /

verb (used with object), fos·sil·ized, fos·sil·iz·ing.

Geology. to convert into a fossil; replace organic with mineral substances in the remains of an organism.
to change as if into mere lifeless remains or traces of the past.
to make rigidly antiquated: Time has fossilized such methods.

verb (used without object), fos·sil·ized, fos·sil·iz·ing.

to become a fossil or like a fossil: The plant fossilized in comparatively recent geologic time.
Linguistics. (of a linguistic form, feature, rule, etc.) to become permanently established in the interlanguage of a second-language learner in a form that is deviant from the target-language norm and that continues to appear in performance regardless of further exposure to the target language.
Also especially British, fos·sil·ise.

Origin of fossilize

First recorded in 1785–95; fossil + -ize


fos·sil·iz·a·ble, adjectivefos·sil·i·za·tion, nounsem·i·fos·sil·ized, adjectiveun·fos·sil·ized, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fossilize

British Dictionary definitions for fossilize



/ (ˈfɒsɪˌlaɪz) /


to convert or be converted into a fossil
to become or cause to become antiquated or inflexible

Derived forms of fossilize

fossilizable or fossilisable, adjectivefossilization or fossilisation, noun
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

Science definitions for fossilize

[ fŏsəl ]

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.

Other words from fossil

fossilize verb
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.