petrify

verb
pet·​ri·​fy | \ ˈpe-trə-ˌfī How to pronounce petrify (audio) \
petrified; petrifying

Definition of petrify

transitive verb

1 : to convert (organic matter) into stone or a substance of stony hardness by the infiltration of water and the deposition of dissolved mineral matter
2 : to make rigid or inert like stone:
a : to make lifeless or inactive : deaden slogans are apt to petrify a man's thinkingSaturday Rev.
b : to confound with fear, amazement, or awe a novel about an airline pilot that will petrify you— Martin Levin

intransitive verb

: to become stone or of stony hardness or rigidity

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Examples of petrify in a Sentence

the processes that petrify wood The dead tree petrified into stone.
Recent Examples on the Web Gannon announced over 130 winners across the six participating villages, ranging from chilling landscapes to petrifying portraits. BostonGlobe.com, "Hundreds of young students with paint brushes in hand took to Newton’s storefronts Saturday for the 20th annual Halloween Window Painting Contest. They adorned the windows of businesses across six of the city’s villages with spooky scenes of ghosts and graveyards, skeletons and jack-o-lanterns.," 1 Nov. 2019 The experience is really best for children ages 10 and up, though even the toughest adults have reportedly been petrified by Terror in the Corn. Sarah Kuta, The Know, "A guide to the spookiest haunted houses this Halloween," 3 Oct. 2019 Seeing the beloved creature of my childhood petrified mid-prance in perpetuity was crushing. Sarah Maslin Nir, New York Times, "Following in the Wake of a Storybook Pony," 8 July 2019 The rest spent Tuesday and Wednesday evenings petrified that their time in Detroit would be their swan song as legitimate candidates. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "The Democratic Party Is Culling the Field Too Soon," 1 Aug. 2019 Pivotal to it: Melcher, supposedly petrified of Manson, was medicated to testify at his trial. Stephen Phillips, latimes.com, "What really happened in the Manson murders? ‘Chaos’ casts doubt on Helter Skelter theory," 12 July 2019 The creepy face, which became the center of a viral hoax that petrified thousands of parents earlier this year, is reportedly about to be the basis of a horror movie from Orion Pictures, Vertigo Entertainment, and producer Taka Ichise. Julie Muncy, WIRED, "Why the Momo Challenge Film Might Beat the Meme Movie Curse," 12 July 2019 Downright Divine: Kilfenora The birthplace of one of Ireland’s oldest ceili dance bands, Kilfenora looks like it’s been petrified by the surrounding peat bogs. Serena Renner, National Geographic, "Road trip through the Irish countryside’s wild beauty," 12 Mar. 2019 When the dead and buried don’t petrify, there are other ways that save them from destruction and preserve parts of their bodies with little change over vast spans of geological time. Anna K. Behrensmeyer, Smithsonian, "How Do Fossils Form?," 8 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'petrify.' 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 petrify

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for petrify

Middle English petrifien (as past participle petrified), borrowed from Medieval Latin petrificāre, from Latin petra "rock, boulder, crag" (borrowed from Greek pétra) + -ificāre -ify — more at petro-

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Statistics for petrify

Last Updated

19 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for petrify

The first known use of petrify was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for petrify

petrify

verb
How to pronounce petrify (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of petrify

: to make (someone) very afraid
technical : to slowly change (something, such as wood) into stone or a substance like stone over a very long period of time

petrify

verb
pet·​ri·​fy | \ ˈpe-trə-ˌfī How to pronounce petrify (audio) \
petrified; petrifying

Kids Definition of petrify

1 : to change plant or animal matter into stone or something like stone petrified wood
2 : to frighten very much Lightning petrifies me.

petrify

verb
pet·​ri·​fy | \ ˈpe-trə-ˌfī How to pronounce petrify (audio) \
petrified; petrifying

Medical Definition of petrify

transitive verb

: to convert (organic matter) into stone or a stony substance

intransitive verb

: to become stone or like stone

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More from Merriam-Webster on petrify

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for petrify

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with petrify

Spanish Central: Translation of petrify

Nglish: Translation of petrify for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of petrify for Arabic Speakers

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