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.
verb (used without object), pet·ri·fied, pet·ri·fy·ing.
  1. to become petrified.

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

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for petrify

Historical Examples of petrify

  • I haven't seen a soul since one o'clock and I was beginning to petrify.

    Miss Pat at Artemis Lodge

    Pemberton Ginther

  • Policy seems to petrify their minds when they 've got on an eminence.

  • 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

    Ezra Pound

  • It rang down the corridor and seemed to petrify his grasp upon her.

    The Fifth Queen

    Ford Madox Ford


British Dictionary definitions for petrify

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
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 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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper