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[fos-uh-lahyz] /ˈfɒs əˌlaɪz/
verb (used with object), fossilized, fossilizing.
Geology. to convert into a fossil; replace organic with mineral substances in the remains of an organism.
to change as if into mere lifeless remains or traces of the past.
to make rigidly antiquated:
Time has fossilized such methods.
verb (used without object), fossilized, fossilizing.
to become a fossil or fossillike:
The plant fossilized in comparatively recent geologic time.
Linguistics. (of a linguistic form, feature, rule, etc.) to become permanently established in the interlanguage of a second-language learner in a form that is deviant from the target-language norm and that continues to appear in performance regardless of further exposure to the target language.
Also, especially British, fossilise.
1785-95; fossil + -ize
Related forms
fossilizable, adjective
fossilization, noun
semifossilized, adjective
unfossilized, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for fossilized
  • Its practices are ossified and its processes fossilized.
  • The absolutely fossilized disregard of all subsequent research on cancer is a more grievous, indeed aggravated, failure.
  • Amber forms when tree resin is fossilized by high temperatures and pressure over millions of years.
  • Two of them are thin, carbonized patches of fossilized skin that appear to have come from sauropod dinosaurs.
  • fossilized sharks teeth, bones and shells are often found along the waters edge.
  • Many of the collections are catalogs of specimens: fish skeletons, fossilized plants, airplane models.
  • He found something amazing: the fossilized mold of a brain.
  • Scientists regard fossilized oxygen isotopes as proxy measures of past atmospheric temperatures.
  • The limestone is the fossilized and calcified remains of those creatures.
  • In addition, the team thinks it may have found samples of fossilized skin.
British Dictionary definitions for fossilized


to convert or be converted into a fossil
to become or cause to become antiquated or inflexible
Derived Forms
fossilizable, fossilisable, adjective
fossilization, fossilisation, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fossilized



1794, from fossil + -ize. Figurative use from 1856. Related: Fossilized; fossilizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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