1

fossil

play
adjective fos·sil \ ˈfä-səl \
Updated on: 11 Sep 2017

Definition of fossil

1 :preserved from a past geologic age
  • fossil plants
  • fossil water in an underground reservoir
2 :being or resembling a fossil
3 :of or relating to fossil fuel
  • fossil energy sources

Recent Examples of fossil from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fossil.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

A remnant, impression, or trace of an animal or plant of a past geologic age that has been preserved in the earth’s crust is called a fossil. Data from fossils are the primary source of information about the history of life on the earth. Only a small fraction of ancient organisms are preserved as fossils, and usually only organisms that have a solid skeleton or shell. Unaltered hard parts, such as the shells of clams, are relatively common in sedimentary rocks. The embedding of insects in amber and the preservation of mammoths in ice are rare but striking examples of the fossil preservation of soft tissues. Traces of organisms such as tracks and trails may also be preserved.

Origin and Etymology of fossil

earlier, "dug from the earth, preserved in the ground," borrowed from French & Latin; French fossile, borrowed from Latin fossilis "obtained by digging," from fodiō, fodere "to prod, jab, dig, remove by digging" (going back to Indo-European *bhedh-, *bhodh- "jab, dig," whence also Lithuanian bedù, bèsti "to stick, dig," Old Church Slavic bodǫ, bosti "to prick, stab," Hittite paddai "digs") + -tilis "produced by, characterized by (the action of the verb)"


2

fossil

noun

Definition of fossil

1 :a remnant, impression, or trace of an organism of past geologic ages that has been preserved in the earth's crust — compare living fossil
2 a :a person whose views are outmoded :fogy
b :something (such as a theory) that has become rigidly fixed
3 :an old word or word element preserved only by idiom (such as fro in to and fro)

Examples of fossil in a Sentence

  1. some old fossil who thinks that a boy and a girl shouldn't be together unsupervised until they are engaged

Recent Examples of fossil from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fossil.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of fossil

derivative of 1fossil, or borrowed directly from Latin fossilis


FOSSIL Defined for English Language Learners

fossil

noun

Definition of fossil for English Language Learners

  • : something (such as a leaf, skeleton, or footprint) that is from a plant or animal which lived in ancient times and that you can see in some rocks

  • : a person whose ideas are very old-fashioned or out-of-date


FOSSIL Defined for Kids

fossil

play
noun fos·sil \ ˈfä-səl \

Definition of fossil for Students

:a trace or print or the remains of a plant or animal of a past age preserved in earth or rock


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