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.

Nearby words

  1. petrificant,
  2. petrification,
  3. petrified,
  4. petrified forest,
  5. petrified forest national park,
  6. petrillo,
  7. petrillo, james caesar,
  8. petrine,
  9. petrinism,
  10. petro

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

Examples from the Web for petrify


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 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

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