• 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 petrification

freezing, coagulation, concretion, setting, petrification, fossilization, crystallization, ossification, calcification

Examples from the Web for petrification

Historical Examples of petrification

  • The mistake lies in wishing to escape from it by a petrification of our joys.

    Days Off

    Henry Van Dyke

  • An Addition to the Instances of Petrification, formerly enumerated.

  • The reign of justice could only be the reign of silence and of petrification.

  • I stared in petrification at Lukynitch; I had not expected this, I admit.

  • While wandering through the valley of the Clearwater and the adjacent hills, I was much struck with the wonders of petrification.

British Dictionary definitions for petrification


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 petrification


1610s, from French petrification (16c.), Latinized noun of action from Middle French pétrifier (see petrify). Etymologically better than the more common petrifaction.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

petrification 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.

petrification 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.