[ 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. 2020

Examples from the Web for fossilized

British Dictionary definitions for fossilized



/ (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