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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ Gorbachev faced an ossified economic system.
▪ Usually musical traditions remain alive only if they are thriving, writing them down tends to ossify them and hasten their end.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Ossify \Os"si*fy\, v. i. (Physiol.) To become bone; to change from a soft tissue to a hard bony tissue.


Ossify \Os"si*fy\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Ossified; p. pr. & vb. n. Ossifying.] [L. os, ossis, bone + -fy: cf. F. ossifier. See Osseous.]

  1. (Physiol.) To form into bone; to change from a soft animal substance into bone, as by the deposition of lime salts.

  2. (Fig.): To harden; as, to ossify the heart.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1713, "to turn into bone," a back-formation from ossification, or else modeled on French ossifier (18c.) and formed from Latin os (genitive ossis) "bone" (see osseous) + -fy. Figurative sense is from 1858. Related: Ossified; ossifying.


vb. 1 (context ambitransitive English) To transform (or cause to transform) from a softer animal substance into bone; particularly the processes of growth in humans and animals. 2 (context ambitransitive animate English) To become (or cause to become) inflexible and rigid in habits or opinions. 3 (context ambitransitive inanimate English) To grow (or cause to grow) formulaic and permanent. 4 (context rare English) To calcify.

  1. v. become bony; "The tissue ossified"

  2. make rigid and set into a conventional pattern; "rigidify the training schedule"; "ossified teaching methods"; "slogans petrify our thinking" [syn: rigidify, petrify]

  3. cause to become hard and bony; "The disease ossified the tissue"

  4. [also: ossified]

Usage examples of "ossify".

He was very old, and his thoughts were slow and somewhat ossified, like his grumps, but in time they got there.

Enchondroma may be composed of osteoid tissue, such as is found in the ossifying callous between the bone and the periosteum, and, according to Virchow, then takes the name of osteochondroma.

So on the one hand there is the organic, biologically generative process represented by Indo-European, while on the other there is an inorganic, essentially un-regenerative process, ossified into Semitic: most important, Renan makes it absolutely clear that such an imperious judgment is made by the Oriental philologist in his laboratory, for distinctions of the kind he has been concerned with are neither possible nor available for anyone except the trained professional.

The moment Socialism turns into a religion it loses all its progressiveness, it ossifies and turns into a superstition of fanatics, who never forget and never learn anything.

Characteristic of ornithischians are, among other skeletal features, the presence of ossified tendons along the vertebral column and the presence of at least five sacral vertebrae in contact with the pelvis.

Aquinas, scholasticism was ossifying, becoming stultified and rigid in the universities, as scholars fought over the minutiae of what he and the other medieval masters had really meant.

Waldo Screener, the Ossified Man, has not been located after several intense searches, and is presumed to have joined his wife.

Animals thudded to the ground, skins shriveled to black parchment and innards cooked, spitting out little wisps of smoke as they ossified in seconds.

Waterboro was being gentrified and ossified, and it was hoped that the Institute would be able to restore life to the community.

At any rate, the steps taken to preserve the colonists from interbreeding resulted in your society becoming ossified.

It was not the sort of talk that a newly appointed maid of honour found at all entertaining, but Zeralenn brooked no recalcitrance, and Eliste found herself trapped, banished to the study for hours on end with no companion but the Count vo Bourray's ossified old Mirror of Courtiers.

I say "cuisines" rather than "cuisine" to point to the fact that human civilization has reached that delectable stage when the local cuisines which have evolved in isolation over the centuries have begun to merge, thanks to easy transportation and mass communication, but have not yet ossified into a single standardized planetary style.

Or that I'd been playing piano in cheapjack speakeasies for nothing more than drinks and whatever change the Doras and ossified lounge lizards could spare.

Early on, Zilin had learned that formularization was second only to rote in ossifying creative thinking.

They were full of thousands of minuscule ratchets and gear wheels and ossified springs, like the innards of inconceivably tiny clocks.