- Petrify is to change organic matter into something stone like, or to cause extreme fear.
- An example of petrify is when wood changes into a stone-like substance over time.
- An example of petrify is when a ghost frightens someone nearly to death.
- to replace the normal cells of (organic matter) with silica or other mineral deposits; re-form as a stony substance
- to make rigid, inflexible, or inert; harden or deaden
- to paralyze or make numb, as with fear; stupefy; stun
Origin: Fr pétrifier from Classical Latin petra, stone, rock (from Gr) plush -ficare, -fy
- petrified adjective
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
verb pet·ri·fied, pet·ri·fy·ing, pet·ri·fies verb, transitive
- To convert (wood or other organic matter) into a stony replica by petrifaction.
- To cause to become stiff or stonelike; deaden.
- To stun or paralyze with terror; daze.
Origin: Middle English petrifien, to harden, from Old French petrifier : Latin petra, rock (from Greek petrā; see per-2 in Indo-European roots) + Old French -fier, -fy.