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[pe-truh-fahy] /ˈpɛ trəˌfaɪ/
verb (used with object), petrified, petrifying.
to convert into stone or a stony substance.
to benumb or paralyze with astonishment, horror, or other strong emotion:
I was petrified with fear.
to make rigid or inert; harden; deaden:
The tragedy in his life petrified his emotions.
verb (used without object), petrified, petrifying.
to become petrified.
Origin of petrify
1585-95; < Middle French petrifier. See petri-, -fy
Related forms
petrifiable, adjective
[pi-trif-i-kuh nt] /pɪˈtrɪf ɪ kənt/ (Show IPA),
petrifier, noun
half-petrified, adjective
semipetrified, adjective
unpetrified, adjective
unpetrifying, adjective
2. immobilize, dumbfound, daze. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for petrified
  • petrified wood, from trees that have fossilized to stone, is currently intriguing those interested in interior design.
  • They're wealthy, they're pretty, they've got some petrified laurels.
  • And there's millions more silent ones, who are too petrified to come out openly defiant.
  • Five additional petrified forests have now been found, scientists said.
  • But the best part was the petrified tree trunk that spanned the entire length of the room.
  • The holes are all that is left in the petrified ash of the bodies that used to lie there.
  • Everybody's suddenly petrified about municipal debt.
  • We were both too petrified to even move the curtains to look out the window.
  • Interpretive panels along the way explain the science behind the petrified logs.
  • Corporations who are petrified with terror and rage at the prospect of losing some tiny percentage of their profit disagree.
British Dictionary definitions for petrified


verb -fies, -fying, -fied
(transitive; often passive) to convert (organic material, esp plant material) into a fossilized form by impregnation with dissolved minerals so that the original appearance is preserved
to make or become dull, unresponsive, insensitive, etc; deaden
(transitive; often passive) to stun or daze with horror, fear, etc
Derived Forms
petrifier, noun
Word Origin
C16: from French pétrifier, ultimately from Greek petra stone, rock
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 petrified

1660s, "turned to stone," past participle adjective from petrify (v.). Figurative meaning "paralyzed (with fright, etc.)" is from 1720.



1590s, from Middle French pétrifier "to make or become stone" (16c.), from Latin petra "rock, crag" (see petrous) + -ficare, from facere "to make, do" (see factitious). Metaphoric sense of "paralyze with fear or shock" first recorded 1771. Related: Petrified; petrifying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for petrified



Drunk; ossified, stoned (1903+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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