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Definition of "fossil" []

  • A remnant or trace of an organism of a past geologic age, such as a skeleton or leaf imprint, embedded and preserved in the earth's crust. (noun)
  • One, such as a rigid theory, that is outdated or antiquated. (noun)
  • Linguistics A word or morpheme that is used only in certain restricted contexts, as kempt in unkempt, but is otherwise obsolete. (noun)
  • Linguistics An archaic syntactic rule or pattern used only in idioms, as so be it. (noun)
  • Characteristic of or having the nature of a fossil. (adjective)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "fossil" in a sentence
  • "Corallines much resemble fossil or petrified wood; and we recollect to have received from the landlady of an inn at Portsmouth a small branch of _fossil wood_, which she asserted to be _coral_, and"
  • "Only the woefully ignorant think that the term fossil is restricted to bones and other body parts that have become encased in stone."
  • "The term fossil refers to any preserved remains or imprint of a living organism (usually ancient), such as a bone, shell, footprint, or leaf impression."