"action or process of hardening, conversion into stone," 1610s, from French petrification (16c.), Latinized noun of action from pétrifier (see petrify). Etymologically better than the more common petrifaction.
1590s, "convert into stone or stony substance," from French pétrifier "to make or become stone" (16c.), from Latin petra "rock, crag" (see petrous) + -ficare, combining form of facere "to make, do" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put"). Intransitive sense of "to become stone" is from 1640s. Metaphoric sense of "paralyze with fear or shock" is attested by 1771. Related: Petrified; petrifying.
early 15c., petrifaccioun, "action or process of hardening, a turning to stone," from petrified on model of satisfaction, etc., or from Medieval Latin petrificacionis. From 1680s as "something petrified;" figurative sense is by 1722.
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Definitions of petrification from WordNet
the process of turning some plant material into stone by infiltration with water carrying mineral particles without changing the original shape;