pet·​ri·​fied ˈpe-trə-ˌfīd How to pronounce petrified (audio)
: converted into stone through a slow process of mineralization
petrified wood
a petrified forest
And at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History's annual dinosaur ball, about 800 patrons in black tie or gown waltz among the petrified remains of the once-glorious creatures.Sheldon Teitelbaum
: overwhelmingly fearful
was petrified of speaking in public
: rendered motionless or unable to act by fear
Charlie climbed onto the bed and tried to calm the three old people who were still petrified with fear. "Please don't be frightened," he said. "It's quite safe. And we're going to the most wonderful place in the world!"Roald Dahl
Winky's petrified brown eyes were visible through her fingers. She seemed too appalled to speak.J. K. Rowling

Examples of petrified in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In 1869, swindler George Hull pitched a tent in upstate New York and charged people 50 cents to step right up and view the remains of a petrified giant. Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Discover Magazine, 13 May 2024 In this case, the mayor is apparently petrified of running against @GJonesWright , so his #NewSanDiego #PAC is elevating a GOP mayoral candidate with a #Mailer that also promotes Trump. Michael Smolens, San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 Feb. 2024 For your journey here, you'll be richly rewarded with incredible beaches and natural wonders (a petrified forest on Lesvos, volcanic rocks and sand dunes on Limnos, and thermal springs on Ikaria). Eleni N. Gage, Travel + Leisure, 1 Apr. 2024 An employee emerged from a hallway with a petrified woman in a periwinkle nightgown. Caitlin McGlade, The Arizona Republic, 19 Mar. 2024 Biden is petrified that Arab Americans living in Michigan won’t vote for him in November, thereby cracking the Blue Wall and handing the election to Trump. Matthew Continetti, National Review, 10 Feb. 2024 For those looking to explore beyond Oaxaca's city limits, Otro can arrange tours to cultural sites, like the famed petrified waterfall Hierve el Agua and UNESCO World Heritage Site Monte Alban. Catherine Tansey, Travel + Leisure, 27 Jan. 2024 The four original structures on the property—in an area officially designated as Belle Canyon—were a brick oven, winery, barn, and petrified wooden bridge. Mike Desimone and Jeff Jenssen, Robb Report, 21 Jan. 2024 His 17-year-old, Alabama, recently shared that her friends were petrified of him because of his hardcore exterior. Amy Kaufman, Los Angeles Times, 29 Oct. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'petrified.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


from past participle of petrify

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of petrified was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near petrified

Cite this Entry

“Petrified.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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