Part of speech:
It's both transitive (you calcify something)
and intransitive (something calcifies)
but much more commonly intransitive.
When you calcify something, or when something calcifies, that means it becomes rigid and unchanging.
It used to be like a liquid--flexible and changing--but now it's like a solid instead.
(The literal meaning of "calcify" is to become full of calcium: that hard, rigid stuff that makes up bones and teeth.)
calcified, calcifying, calcification
How to use it:
Talk about something calcifying, or call something calcified: a calcifying method or product, a calcifying feeling or point of view, a calcifying relationship, a calcified business plan or system, a calcified tradition or bureaucracy or hierarchy, etc.
Something might calcify into something else: "Their lives together calcified into a routine." And of course, something might calcify in your mind, in your routine, in your relationship, etc.
You might even say that people have calcified or have become calcified if you mean they are rigidly set in their ways and won't be flexible in response to changing situations.
Occasionally you'll use this verb transitively: you calcify something, or something calcifies something else: "I've long since calcified my opinions and I'm not interested in debating them." "A lifetime of social rejection has calcified his heart."
It makes me really happy to share words with people who have long since graduated college yet remain determined to prevent their vocabularies from calcifying.
As a writing tutor, I find that my hardest task sometimes is helping students chip away at that calcified and deeply ingrainednotion that an essay has to have five paragraphs, has to state the thesis in the introduction, has to sum up and repeat everything at the end, has to have a certain number of sentences per paragraph, can't have contractions, and blah blah blah.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "calcify" means when you can explain it without saying “harden" or “become inflexible."
Think of your worst and longest-held habit, and fill in the blanks: "I really need to work on my calcified (type of) habit(s) if I want to _____."
Example: "I really need to work on my calcified spending habits if I want to do a better job of saving for the future."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month's game content is protected by a copyright, so I can't reprint the trivia questions here--but check out the thoughtful and thorough reference book that I got them from: Last Words of Notable People!
A Point Well Made:
William Zinsser: “Clutter is the disease of American writing.”
1. Some opposites of CALCIFY are
A. CONGEAL, ICE, & CRUMBLE
B. LIQUEFY, SOFTEN, & ADAPT
C. EXPLODE, DESTROY, & LIGHT
2. With its swiftly calcifying role in the world of social media, the company _____
A. is sure to fizzle out within the next few years.
B. now more than ever is succeeding in a volatile market.
C. may be relatively unknown now, but will be a household name by next Christmas.
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Answers to review questions:
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