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

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 My career was in free fall, and as a single parent, this was petrifying. John P. Darcy, Vogue, "The Year We Left New York," 27 Dec. 2018 In the days leading up to 500 qualifying, he was petrified for his team. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "IndyCar midseason review, Part I: What’s gone right," 14 June 2018 Christy and Brian, petrified that the twins would smother, took turns staying awake round-the-clock to watch them. Anndee Hochman, Philly.com, "The Parent Trip: Christy and Brian Fitzpatrick of Upper Dublin," 4 July 2018 As a 12-year-old girl, Phoenix Moncada was petrified and confused by the physical changes of puberty – and resorted to cutting, or self-mutilation, over and over again. Samantha Young, sacbee, "Should ‘gender-affirming health care’ be on the radar for California’s foster kids?," 2 July 2018

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

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with petrify

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for petrify

Spanish Central: Translation of petrify

Nglish: Translation of petrify for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of petrify for Arabic Speakers

Comments on petrify

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