verb (used with object), pet·ri·fied, pet·ri·fy·ing.

  1. to convert into stone or a stony substance.
  2. to benumb or paralyze with astonishment, horror, or other strong emotion: I was petrified with fear.
  3. to make rigid or inert; harden; deaden: The tragedy in his life petrified his emotions.

verb (used without object), pet·ri·fied, pet·ri·fy·ing.

  1. to become petrified.

verb -fies, -fying or -fied

  1. (tr; 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
  2. to make or become dull, unresponsive, insensitive, etc; deaden
  3. (tr; often passive) to stun or daze with horror, fear, etc

v.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.

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