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 fossilize (audio) \ noun

Examples of fossilize in a Sentence

The mud helped to preserve and fossilize the wood.
Recent Examples on the Web The soft tissue was first to fossilize, encasing the 3-D network of collagen-like fibers that formed the sponge's skeleton., 29 July 2021 The soft tissue was first to fossilize, encasing the 3D network of collagen-like fibers that formed the sponge’s skeleton. Washington Post, 29 July 2021 Brains almost never fossilize, so researchers must scrutinize impressions in the skull left behind by the brain’s grooves, folds, and bulges. Michael Price, Science | AAAS, 8 Apr. 2021 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 3 Apr. 2020

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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Dictionary Entries Near fossilize

fossil ivory



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Cite this Entry

“Fossilize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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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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