verb (used with object), ed·i·fied, ed·i·fy·ing.
  1. 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 formsed·i·fi·er, nouned·i·fy·ing·ly, adverbnon·ed·i·fied, adjectivere·ed·i·fy, verb (used with object), re·ed·i·fied, re·ed·i·fy·ing.un·ed·i·fied, adjectiveun·ed·i·fy·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for unedifying

Contemporary Examples of unedifying

Historical Examples of unedifying

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for unedifying


  1. not having the result of improving morality, intellect, etc


verb -fies, -fying or -fied
  1. (tr) to improve the morality, intellect, etc, of, esp by instruction
Derived Formsedifier, nounedifying, adjectiveedifyingly, adverb

Word Origin for edify

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

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