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petrify (verb) frighten extremely; change into a stone.
When a sight petrifies you it frightens you extremely. The sight of a lion appearing as if from nowhere petrifies you if it causes great fear in you. Your meeting suddenly a person whom you dread petrifies you, if their appearance causes fear in you. In the fables of the old, we often come across monsters the very sight of which could petrify you, that is, turn you into stone.
- The sudden presence there of the man supposed to be in prison petrified them all, but before they could recover from the shock of their fear, he escaped as suddenly as he appeared.
- No one could kill Medusa for a long time because anyone who looked at her would be petrified, and once turned into stone they had no chance of killing her. Finally there came Perseus, who killed her by looking at her reflection in a mirror.