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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for unedifying
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In the course of this process he fell into adventures, some of them, perhaps, unedifying.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • I wish I could see them; but you have no loss, you know how unedifying I am.

    Hopes and Fears Charlotte M. Yonge
  • But we will not follow this unedifying conversation further.

  • Punch's unedifying life was fostering languor within their breasts.

    A Love Episode Emile Zola
  • Yet so fine a game as this was held by his mother to be unedifying.

    Bunker Bean

    Harry Leon Wilson
  • His language I will not repeat—but canting knave, hypocrite, rascal attor—no, it is useless and unedifying to repeat it.

  • She must have been an unedifying abbess at Ambresbury, though not devoid of kindness of heart.

  • He lay there all night and all the following day, and his views concerning Nazarenes must have been most unedifying.

    The Message Louis Tracy
  • The cylinders usually gyrate with records of fatuous music-hall songs, unedifying coster-airs and farcical speeches.

British Dictionary definitions for unedifying


not having the result of improving morality, intellect, etc


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 unedifying

to inform or enlighten intellectually or spiritually

Word Origin

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

Usage Note

transitive's 21st Century Lexicon
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Word Origin and History for unedifying



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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