petrify

[ pe-truh-fahy ]
/ ˈpɛ trəˌfaɪ /

verb (used with object), pet·ri·fied, pet·ri·fy·ing.

to convert into stone or a stony substance.
to benumb or paralyze with astonishment, horror, or other strong emotion: I was petrified with fear.
to make rigid or inert; harden; deaden: The tragedy in his life petrified his emotions.

verb (used without object), pet·ri·fied, pet·ri·fy·ing.

to become petrified.

QUIZZES

DO YOU KNOW THIS VOCABULARY FROM "THE HANDMAID'S TALE"?

"The Handmaid's Tale" was required reading for many of us in school. Everyone else has probably watched the very popular and addictive TV show. Do you remember this vocabulary from the book, and do you know what these terms mean?
Question 1 of 10
decorum

Origin of petrify

From the Middle French word petrifier, dating back to 1585–95. See petri-, -fy

OTHER WORDS FROM petrify

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for petrified

British Dictionary definitions for petrified

petrify
/ (ˈpɛtrɪˌfaɪ) /

verb -fies, -fying or -fied

(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
to make or become dull, unresponsive, insensitive, etc; deaden
(tr; often passive) to stun or daze with horror, fear, etc

Derived forms of petrify

petrifier, 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