Definition of petrify
- slogans are apt to petrify a man's thinking
- —Saturday Rev.
- a novel about an airline pilot that will petrify you
- —Martin Levin
the processes that petrify wood
The dead tree petrified into stone.
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.
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
: to make (someone) very afraid
: to slowly change (something, such as wood) into stone or a substance like stone over a very long period of time
What made you want to look up petrify? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
of yeast or being unsettled or frivolous
Get Word of the Day daily email!
Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!
Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!TAKE THE QUIZ
Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.TAKE THE QUIZ