fos·sil·ize | \ˈfä-sə-ˌlīz \
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 \ noun

Examples of fossilize in a Sentence

The mud helped to preserve and fossilize the wood.

Recent Examples on the Web

Kenneth Carpenter, a paleontologist at Utah State University in Price, tells Barras that the dinosaur’s unique skeletal features could come from another animal that was fossilized at the same time. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "A Mysterious Dinosaur Skeleton Was Auctioned Off to a Private Buyer," 7 June 2018 Today their scant remains reveal little about their insides; in most cases their innards had rotted before the trees fossilized, and storms had filled them with sand. Daisy Yuhas, Scientific American, "Ancient Tree Structure Is Like a Forest unto Itself," 1 Jan. 2018 Since conversations don’t fossilize, any evolutionary interpretation is difficult. Joshua Rapp Learn, Smithsonian, "Some Animals Take Turns While Talking, Just Like Humans. Why?," 20 June 2018 Yet while sounds don’t fossilize, the shapes and sizes of bits of rib cages and nasal cavities have hinted that dinosaur noises were actually more ostrich- or crocodile-like in nature. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "Five Ways Real Science Would Make the New Jurassic World So Much Better," 12 June 2018 While countless other royal families — French, Russian, Iranian, Italian, etc. — have fossilized and then fallen, the British royal family has survived by constantly adapting to the demands of the modern age. Craig Brown, The Cut, "Can This Marriage Be Saved?," 1 May 2018 Of course, flight motion itself does not fossilize, and the flight pattern of Archaeopteryx cannot be studied in a living animal anymore, which makes determining flight style even more difficult, lead study author Dennis Voeten wrote in an email. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "This 'enigmatic' feathered dinosaur didn't fly like modern birds," 13 Mar. 2018 Shark bodies are largely made of this firm, white connective substance—which does not fossilize well. Erin Biba, Scientific American, "Sharklike Fossil Fills In the Jaws Family Tree," 1 June 2017 The animal fossilized in 3-D, preserving its armor and vestiges of its soft tissue—including hints of its original coloration. Robert Clark, National Geographic, "Our 21 Most Popular Stories of 2017," 21 Dec. 2017

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

The first known use of fossilize was in 1794

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More Definitions for fossilize



English Language Learners Definition of fossilize

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

More from Merriam-Webster on fossilize

Spanish Central: Translation of fossilize

Nglish: Translation of fossilize for Spanish Speakers

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