Word of the Day – Ossify

Word of the Day : August 25, 2021


verb AH-suh-fye

What It Means

In science, ossify means “to change into bone.” Outside of science, it means “to make or become hardened and opposed to change.”

// The cartilage will ossify, becoming bone.

// Her opinions have ossified.

See the entry >


“The cultural revolution was the product of Mao’s fear, if not paranoia. He worried that the communist party was becoming ossified and selfish careerists were taking over.” — Michael Carey, The Alaska Dispatch News, 13 May 2021

Did you know?

The skeletons of mammals originate as soft cartilage that gradually transforms into hard bone (in humans, the process begins in the womb and continues until late adolescence). This bone-building process has been called ossification since the late 17th century, and the verb ossify arrived soon after the noun. Both terms have come to refer to figurative types of hardening, such as that of the heart, mind, or soul. The words come from the Latin root os, meaning “bone.” Os has also entered English as a synonym of bone in scientific contexts.