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 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 Shark skeletons are made of cartilage, which does not fossilize as well as bone — so it is rarely preserved. CBS News, "Scientists found the head of a 330-million-year-old shark in a Kentucky cave," 30 Jan. 2020 His team’s discovery marks the first time brains from any human or animal have been found fossilized as glass. Washington Post, "Mount Vesuvius eruption was so hot it turned one victim’s brain into glass, researchers say," 23 Jan. 2020 Not a female directorial nominee, not a black American directorial nominee, only one actor of color: the Academy is fossilizing itself. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "The Fossilized 2020 Oscar Nominations," 13 Jan. 2020 Keratin doesn’t fossilize well, but melanosomes often do. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Scientists Identify Blue Hues in Fossilized Bird Feathers for the First Time," 28 June 2019 That’s because the animals had skeletons made of cartilage, which does not fossilize as easily as bone. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "This Ancient Shark Looked Like an Eel and Swallowed Its Prey Whole," 3 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

Cite this Entry

“Fossilize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 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

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Spanish Central: Translation of fossilize

Nglish: Translation of fossilize for Spanish Speakers

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