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Word of the Day : January 8, 2013

ramify

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verb RAM-uh-fye

Definition

1 : to split up into branches or constituent parts

2 : to send forth branches or extensions

3 : to cause to branch

Examples

"The people of Rafadh had decisions to make, ones that might soon ramify across all of Yemen's remote mountains and deserts and even half a world away in the Pentagon." - From an article by Robert F. Worth in the New York Times Magazine, July 6, 2010

"And most of these stories aren't over yet. They'll ripple and ramify for years to come, in ways that are destined to both shock and gratify us." - From a review by Armin Rosen of the top international news stories of 2012, in the Atlantic, December 7, 2012



Did You Know?

"Ramify" has been part of English since the 15th century and is an offshoot of the Latin word for "branch," which is "ramus." English acquired several scientific words from "ramus," including "biramous" ("having two branches"). Another English word derived from "ramus" is the now obsolete "ramage," meaning "untamed" or "wild." "Ramage" originated in falconry-it was initially used of young hawks that had begun to fly from branch to branch in trees. "Ramify" started out as a scientific word, at first referring to branching parts of plants and trees and later to veins and nerves, but it soon branched out into non-scientific and even figurative uses, as in "ideas that ramify throughout society."

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