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[pe-truh-fak-shuh n] /ˌpɛ trəˈfæk ʃən/
the act or process of petrifying; the state of being petrified.
something petrified.
Also, petrification
[pe-truh-fi-key-shuh n] /ˌpɛ trə fɪˈkeɪ ʃən/ (Show IPA)
Origin of petrifaction
1640-50; petri- + -faction < Latin factiōn- (stem of factiō) a making. See petrify, faction1
Related forms
petrifactive, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for petrifaction
  • What is popularly known as the petrifaction of human bodies, is by no means a rare phenomenon.
  • Her petrifaction was such that it was as if her blood had swollen her veins to the bursting point so that she couldn't breathe.
  • Now his time has come, and you sit there staring in petrifaction at this human cobra.
  • After the bodies were covered by mud and the fleshy parts decomposed, petrifaction began.
  • The replacement of the cells of once living organisms with dissolved minerals is called petrifaction.
  • The secret of the petrifaction is known only to the discoverer.
British Dictionary definitions for petrifaction


the act or process of forming petrified organic material
the state of being petrified
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 petrifaction

early 15c., "action or process of hardening," from petrify on model of satisfaction, etc.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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petrifaction in Medicine

petrifaction pet·ri·fac·tion (pět'rə-fāk'shən) or pet·ri·fi·ca·tion (-fĭ-kā'shən)
A process of fossilization in which dissolved minerals replace organic matter.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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petrifaction in Science
petrifaction (pět'rə-fāk'shən) also petrification
The process by which organic materials are turned into rock. Petrifaction occurs when water that is rich with inorganic minerals, such as calcium carbonate or silica, passes slowly through organic matter, such as wood or bone, replacing its cellular structure with minerals.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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