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[ed-uh-fahy] /ˈɛd ə faɪ/
verb (used with object), edified, edifying.
to instruct or benefit, especially morally or spiritually; uplift:
religious paintings that edify the viewer.
Origin of edify
1300-50; Middle English edifien < Anglo-French, Old French edifier < Latin aedificāre to build, equivalent to aedi- (stem of aedes) house, temple + -ficāre -fy
Related forms
edifier, noun
edifyingly, adverb
nonedified, adjective
reedify, verb (used with object), reedified, reedifying.
unedified, adjective
unedifying, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for edify
Historical Examples
  • Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

    Satan Lewis Sperry Chafer
  • He had no idea even now how bad matters were, nor did she care to edify him.

  • Once in the year let us meet here, to compare experiences, resolve difficulties, and to comfort and edify one another in our work.

    One Snowy Night Emily Sarah Holt
  • Oh all you gallants, that hope to be saued by your cloathes, edify, edify.

    The Fatal Dowry Philip Massinger
  • What shocks one part will edify the rest, Nor with one system can they all be blest.

    Essay on Man Alexander Pope
  • It can edify the readers with the history of remarkable piety and virtue.

  • Its aim is not to instruct, not to edify, but to awaken an emotion.

    American Men of Mind Burton E. Stevenson
  • Historic fidelity is to him a matter of indifference; he is only anxious to edify the reader.

    The Apostles Ernest Renan
  • BE edified at the sight of your brethren's virtues, and edify them by your own.

    Fraternal Charity Rev. Father Valuy
  • They may edify each other, they certainly have no power of edifying any one else.

    The Religious Life of London J. Ewing Ritchie
British Dictionary definitions for edify


verb -fies, -fying, -fied
(transitive) to improve the morality, intellect, etc, of, esp by instruction
Derived Forms
edifier, noun
edifying, adjective
edifyingly, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Old French edifier, from Latin aedificāre to construct, from aedēs a dwelling, temple + facere to make
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Contemporary definitions for edify

to inform or enlighten intellectually or spiritually

Word Origin

Latin aedes 'building' + -ficare 'to make'

Usage Note

transitive's 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014, LLC
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Word Origin and History for edify

mid-14c., "to build, construct," also, in figurative use, "to build up morally or in faith," from Old French edefiier "build, install, teach, instruct (morally)," from Latin aedificare "to build, construct," in Late Latin "improve spiritually, instruct" (see edifice). Related: Edified; edifying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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