from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A process of fossilization in which dissolved minerals replace organic matter.
  • n. The state of being stunned or paralyzed with fear.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. the condition of being petrified

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The process of petrifying, or changing into stone; conversion of any organic matter (animal or vegetable) into stone, or a substance of stony hardness.
  • n. The state or condition of being petrified.
  • n. That which is petrified; popularly, a body incrusted with stony matter; an incrustation.
  • n. Fig.: Hardness; callousness; obduracy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Conversion into stone, specifically of organic substances or parts of such: fossilization; replacement of organic matter by some mineral substance, in which process more or less of the form and structure of the organized body is preserved.
  • n. An organic substance converted into stone; a fossil.
  • n. Figuratively, a rigid or stunned condition resulting from fear, astonishment, etc.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the process of turning some plant material into stone by infiltration with water carrying mineral particles without changing the original shape
  • n. a rock created by petrifaction; an organic object infiltrated with mineral matter and preserved in its original form


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • The same kind of petrifaction is to be seen, it is said, at the hot springs of

    Glimpses of Life and Manners in Persia

  • Akin to the foregoing condition is what is known as petrifaction or ossification of portions of the living human body other than the articulations.

    Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine

  • "A petrifaction was a kind of a hard-wood chemical git-up."

    In the Wilderness

  • It lies in a certain deliberate "petrifaction" of the human soul in us; a certain glacial detachment from all interests save one; a certain frigid insanity of preoccupation with our own emotion.

    Visions and Revisions A Book of Literary Devotions

  • "petrifaction" theory has found among the mass of visitors -- even including many men of intelligence and general education.

    The American Goliah

  • Yet all three animals were keyed to a tenseness of living that was almost painful, and scarcely ever would it come to them to be more alive than they were then in their seeming petrifaction.

    The Lair

  • This dynamic process allows for the ability to translate the original text, thus giving that text a flexibility which refuses its petrifaction.

    David Shasha: Monolingualism, Scriptural Translation and the Problem of Western Civilization

  • The trees, burdened with the last infinitesimal pennyweight of snow their branches could hold, stood in absolute petrifaction.

    Chapter IV

  • Before the success of Empire of the Sun Ballard was known principally for darkly surreal novels such as The Crystal World (1966), which described a West African country undergoing an inexplicable process of petrifaction, and Crash (1973), in which he put forward the idea that modern society finds traffic accidents erotic.

    Daily Telegraph obituary of J.G. Ballard

  • Our history follows its own laws, maintaining its innermost tendencies in the face of the outward dangers of dispersal, disintegration, secularization, and moral and religious petrifaction.

    David Shasha: Dangerous Mystic Motifs in Judaism


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