1 : to become or change into bone or bony tissue
2 : to become or make hardened or set in one's ways
Did You Know?
The skeletons of mammals originate as soft cartilage that gradually transforms into hard bone (in humans, the process begins in the womb and continues until late adolescence). English speakers have referred to this bone-building process as ossification since the late 17th century, and the verb ossify appeared at roughly the same time. English speakers had begun to use both ossification and ossify for more figurative types of hardening (such as that of the heart, mind, or soul) by the 19th century. Both words descend from the Latin root os, meaning "bone." Os is also an English word that appears in scientific contexts as a synonym of bone, and the Latin term is an ancestor of the word osseous, which means "consisting of or resembling bone."
When a baby is born, many of the bones in its body have yet to ossify.
"Bargaining systems that address legitimate problems today may ossify into cumbersome bureaucracies over time." — Dante Ramos, The Boston Globe, 27 Mar. 2016
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Vocabulary
Fill in the blanks to create a verb that can mean "to harden" as well as "to make unfeeling or stubborn": i _ d _ r _ _ e.VIEW THE ANSWER
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP