fos·​sil·​ize | \ ˈfä-sə-ˌlīz How to pronounce fossilize (audio) \
fossilized; fossilizing

Definition of fossilize

transitive verb

1 : to convert into a fossil
2 : to make outmoded, rigid, or fixed

intransitive verb

: to become changed into a fossil

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Other Words from fossilize

fossilization \ ˌfä-​sə-​lə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce fossilization (audio) \ noun

Examples of fossilize in a Sentence

The mud helped to preserve and fossilize the wood.
Recent Examples on the Web In 2008 scientists led by paleontologist Jakob Vinther, now of the U.K.’s University of Bristol, figured out that melanosomes, tiny subcellular sacs filled with the pigment melanin, could fossilize. National Geographic, "DINOSAURS," 15 Sep. 2020 Since the meg’s body was mostly comprised of cartilage, which does not fossilize, scientists have been using the shark’s sizable teeth (some surpassing 7 inches top to bottom), vertebrae, and poop fossils to figure out the meg’s body measurements. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, "Science Confirms the Megalodon Was Just So, So Big," 8 Sep. 2020 This research could help to explain why dinosaur eggs are harder to find than many paleontologists would expect because softer eggs would be less likely to fossilize. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Dinosaurs Raised Their Young," 24 July 2020 Most tumors occur in soft tissue that doesn't willingly fossilize, so there is little evidence of cancer in fossil records, according to Reuters. Fox News, "Dinosaur diagnosed with malignant cancer for the first time: researchers say," 7 Aug. 2020 But this flight adaptation makes pterosaur skeletons less likely to fossilize intact, leaving them scarce in the fossil record. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Four New Species of Prehistoric Flying Reptiles Unearthed in Morocco," 3 Apr. 2020 Does it give you any ideas about what material the plant or animal might have been fossilized in? Nicole Daniels, New York Times, "Lesson of the Day: ‘What to Name the Oldest Modern Bird Fossil? Wonderchicken’," 20 Mar. 2020 Oculudentavis is one of only a few dinosaurs fossilized in amber that have been recovered by researchers. Tom Metcalfe, NBC News, "The smallest dinosaur ever found was a weird, primitive bird, researchers say," 11 Mar. 2020 However, those paleontologists suspected the trilobites were likely lined up in a burrow, avoiding detection by a nearby predator when they were buried and fossilized. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Trilobite Fossil Shows Animals Have Stood in Line for Hundreds of Millions of Years," 22 Oct. 2019

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

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First Known Use of fossilize

1794, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Time Traveler for fossilize

Time Traveler

The first known use of fossilize was in 1794

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Statistics for fossilize

Last Updated

23 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fossilize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for fossilize


How to pronounce fossilize (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of fossilize

: to become a fossil or to cause (something) to become a fossil

More from Merriam-Webster on fossilize

Nglish: Translation of fossilize for Spanish Speakers

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