Definition of fossil in English:


Syllabification: fos·sil
Pronunciation: /ˈfäsəl


1The remains or impression of a prehistoric organism preserved in petrified form or as a mold or cast in rock.
More example sentences
  • Very few dinosaur fossils are actually found near this boundary.
  • Scientific testing has determined that the oldest dinosaur fossils are hundreds of millions of years old.
  • Almost no dinosaur fossils have been found from that time, particularly in North America.
petrified remains, petrified impression, remnant, relic
1.1 derogatory or humorous An antiquated or stubbornly unchanging person or thing: he can be a cantankerous old fossil at times
More example sentences
  • Most of the other scholars were old fossils that seemed so fragile that the slightest breath of wind would keel them over.
  • Who would take care of that crazy old fossil then?
  • For those of you who are surprised that a grumpy old fossil like me actually works on a computer, it is all t'Editor's fault.
1.2A word or phrase that has become obsolete except in set phrases or forms, e.g., hue in hue and cry.
More example sentences
  • It has usually been represented in ModE by gh, leaving its silent fossils in such words as dough, night, through, thought, thorough.
  • A plaintiff, therefore, was originally just a person who made a complaint, but the word became a fossil of legal terminology many centuries ago.
  • Old words become linguistic fossils as new words replace them in response to events and developments in a rapidly changing world.


mid 16th century (denoting a fossilized fish found, and believed to have lived, underground): from French fossile, from Latin fossilis 'dug up', from fodere 'dig'.

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Word of the day flippant
Pronunciation: ˈflɪp(ə)nt
not showing a serious or respectful attitude