calcify

play
verb cal·ci·fy \ˈkal-sə-ˌfī\

Definition of calcify

calcified

calcifying

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to make calcareous by deposit of calcium salts

  3. 2 :  to make inflexible or unchangeable

  4. intransitive verb
  5. 1 :  to become calcareous

  6. 2 :  to become inflexible and changeless :  harden

calcification

play \ˌkal-sə-fə-ˈkā-shən\ noun

What is the difference between ossify and calcify?

Medically speaking, ossify refers to the process by which bone forms, or by which tissue (usually cartilage) changes into bone. Ossification is a natural process that starts in utero and which comprises several different steps—one of which is the deposit of calcium salts, also known as calcification. Calcify, however, only refers to the deposit of calcium salts in soft tissue and is not synonymous with ossify. Ossification creates bone tissue, which is more than simply a deposit of calcium salts.

Both ossify and calcify have gained more general uses as well. Calcify refers to hardening, to becoming inflexible and unable to change:

What were once upstart revisionist currents calcified into self-regarding academic sub-specialties, sponsoring plenty of analysis but little fundamental debate.
— Sean Wilentz, The New Republic, 2 July 2001

Ossify refers to becoming inflexible, conventional, and resistant to change:

For these writers, the ossified ideologies of the world, imbedded in the communal imagination, block vision, and as artists they respond not by criticism from without but by confrontation from within.
—Robert Coover, The New York Times Book Review, 18 Mar. 1984

While ossify generally has a slightly more disparaging connotation to it than calcify does in general uses, our evidence shows that the two words are beginning to merge semantically.

1854

First Known Use of calcify

1854


Medical Dictionary

calcify

play
verb cal·ci·fy \ˈkal-sə-ˌfī\

Medical Definition of calcify

calcified

;

calcifying

  1. transitive verb

  2. :  to make calcareous by deposit of calcium salts

  3. intransitive verb

  4. :  to become calcareous


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