- 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.
transitive verbpetrified, petrifying
- 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 of petrifyFrench pétrifier ; from Classical Latin petra, stone, rock (; from Gr) + -ficare, -fy
transitive verbpet·ri·fied, pet·ri·fy·ing, pet·ri·fies
- To convert (wood or other organic matter) into a stony replica by petrifaction.
- To cause to lose vitality or become impervious to change; deaden: a routine that petrified her thinking.
- To stun or paralyze with terror; daze.
Origin of petrifyMiddle 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.
(third-person singular simple present petrifies, present participle petrifying, simple past and past participle petrified)
- To harden organic matter by permeating with water and depositing dissolved minerals.
- To produce rigidness akin to stone.
- To immobilize with fright.
- (intransitive) To become stone, or of a stony hardness, as organic matter by calcareous deposits.
- (intransitive, figuratively) To become stony, callous, or obdurate.
- (figuratively) To make callous or obdurate; to stupefy; to paralyze; to transform; as by petrifaction.
From Medieval Latin petrificare, from petra (“rock").