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petrify

[pe-truh-fahy]
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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.
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verb (used without object), pet·ri·fied, pet·ri·fy·ing.
  1. to become petrified.
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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-kuh nt] /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

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2. immobilize, dumbfound, daze.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for petrified

petrify

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
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Derived Formspetrifier, noun

Word Origin

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

adj.

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

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petrify

v.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper