• synonyms


See more synonyms for petrify on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), pet·ri·fied, pet·ri·fy·ing.
  1. to convert into stone or a stony substance.
  2. to benumb or paralyze with astonishment, horror, or other strong emotion: I was petrified with fear.
  3. to make rigid or inert; harden; deaden: The tragedy in his life petrified his emotions.
Show More
verb (used without object), pet·ri·fied, pet·ri·fy·ing.
  1. to become petrified.
Show More

Origin of petrify

From the Middle French word petrifier, dating back to 1585–95. See petri-, -fy
Related formspet·ri·fi·a·ble, adjectivepe·trif·i·cant [pi-trif-i-kuhnt] /pɪˈtrɪf ɪ kənt/, adjectivepet·ri·fi·er, nounhalf-pet·ri·fied, adjectivesem·i·pet·ri·fied, adjectiveun·pet·ri·fied, adjectiveun·pet·ri·fy·ing, adjective

Synonyms for petrify

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for petrified

frozen, ossified, solidified, fossilized, calcified, stunned, scared, startled, shocked, numb, dazed, alarmed, frightened, unnerved, spooked, afraid, anxious, fearful, speechless, panicky

Examples from the Web for petrified

Contemporary Examples of petrified

Historical Examples of petrified

British Dictionary definitions for petrified


verb -fies, -fying or -fied
  1. (tr; often passive) to convert (organic material, esp plant material) into a fossilized form by impregnation with dissolved minerals so that the original appearance is preserved
  2. to make or become dull, unresponsive, insensitive, etc; deaden
  3. (tr; often passive) to stun or daze with horror, fear, etc
Show More
Derived Formspetrifier, noun

Word Origin for petrify

C16: from French pétrifier, ultimately from Greek petra stone, rock
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 petrified


1660s, "turned to stone," past participle adjective from petrify (v.). Figurative meaning "paralyzed (with fright, etc.)" is from 1720.

Show More



1590s, from Middle French pétrifier "to make or become stone" (16c.), from Latin petra "rock, crag" (see petrous) + -ficare, from facere "to make, do" (see factitious). Metaphoric sense of "paralyze with fear or shock" first recorded 1771. Related: Petrified; petrifying.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper