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.

Origin of petrify

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

Related forms

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for petrify

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

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