From Latin fossilis, dug up.
In its early use, fossil was used to designate any rock, mineral or mineral substance dug out of the earth, but nowadays, it is used only in its restricted sense: it is the remains or traces of a plant or animal of a former geological period found in the strata of the earth. Figuratively, it is also used to talk about something that has lost its vitality or capacity for growth or progress, and it can be contemptuously applied to a person of antiquated notions or habits.
Shown below is one of Lyme Regis’ fine examples, spotted this weekend: an impressive ammonite revealed by erosion in a characteristic cliff face.

By | 2016-10-18T15:50:28+00:00 April 4th, 2006|Words|2 Comments

About the Author:

I am Céline Graciet, a freelance English to French translator. Since 2003 I’ve been writing on all sorts of areas linked to translation and the life of a translator.


  1. Jonathan Wonham April 23, 2006 at 9:03 pm

    “Ecological period” is a somewhat unusual concept and, I think, rarely used. Geological period is a much more common way of describing a certain period of the geological past. So, did you manage to get hold of this fossil? It looks somewhat intractable…

  2. céline April 24, 2006 at 9:46 am

    Thanks for that Jonathan. The fossil was out of reach and anyway, I hope nobody with better equipment and more courage than me will try and get it; it’s a spectacular sight and leaving it there means that lots of people will be able to enjoy it.

Comments are closed.