Petrifaction vs. petrification

Both petrifaction and petrification are accepted and widely used, but some careful English users consider the shorter form more correct. The shorter one is indeed the older form and was once preferred by a large margin, but today the longer form prevails by a ratio of about 3:2. This is the case in all the main varieties of English. Petrifaction is slightly more common in scientific writing of this century, but petrification is more common in books and news writing.


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  1. Matt Fletcher says:

    I’ve never in my life (in the UK) heard of “petrifaction”!

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