- 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.
- to become petrified.
Origin of petrify
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for petrify
I haven't seen a soul since one o'clock and I was beginning to petrify.Miss Pat at Artemis Lodge
Policy seems to petrify their minds when they 've got on an eminence.Lord Ormont and his Aminta, Complete
Then they begin to harden, presently they petrify, then business begins.Mark Twain's Speeches
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
The poet in dealing with his own time, must also see to it that language does not petrify on his hands.Instigations
It rang down the corridor and seemed to petrify his grasp upon her.The Fifth Queen
Ford Madox Ford
- (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
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 petrify
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper