• synonyms


[pe-truh-fak-shuh n]
See more synonyms for petrifaction on Thesaurus.com
  1. the act or process of petrifying; the state of being petrified.
  2. something petrified.
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Also pet·ri·fi·ca·tion [pe-truh-fi-key-shuh n] /ˌpɛ trə fɪˈkeɪ ʃən/.

Origin of petrifaction

1640–50; petri- + -faction < Latin factiōn- (stem of factiō) a making. See petrify, faction1
Related formspet·ri·fac·tive, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for petrifaction

coma, trance, slumber, rapture, reverie, stupor, unconsciousness, specimen, relic, skeleton, trace, inertness, lethargy, sleep, languor, anesthesia, swoon, stupefaction, torpor, insensibility

Examples from the Web for petrifaction

Historical Examples of petrifaction

  • I stood there like a petrifaction—looking after him, vacant and motionless.

    Peter Schlemihl

    Adelbert von Chamisso

  • As for Rollin, he became, and remained for some time, a petrifaction of amazement.

    The Red Man's Revenge

    R.M. Ballantyne

  • Something like a petrifaction of her wildest face was shown.

  • Petrifaction awaits all these glowing metaphors of early time.

    Demonology and Devil-lore

    Moncure Daniel Conway

  • A petrifaction of a fish's head, for old United States coins.

British Dictionary definitions for petrifaction


petrification (ˌpɛtrɪfɪˈkeɪʃən)

  1. the act or process of forming petrified organic material
  2. the state of being petrified
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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

Word Origin and History for petrifaction


early 15c., "action or process of hardening," from petrify on model of satisfaction, etc.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

petrifaction in Medicine


  1. A process of fossilization in which dissolved minerals replace organic matter.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

petrifaction in Science


  1. The process by which organic materials are turned into rock. Petrifaction occurs when water that is rich with inorganic minerals, such as calcium carbonate or silica, passes slowly through organic matter, such as wood or bone, replacing its cellular structure with minerals.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.