com·​mod·​i·​fy | \ kə-ˈmä-də-ˌfī How to pronounce commodify (audio) \
commodified; commodifying

Definition of commodify

transitive verb

: to turn (something, such as an intrinsic value or a work of art) into a commodity attempts to commodify the water supply

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from commodify

commodification \ kə-​ˌmä-​də-​fə-​ˈkā-​shən How to pronounce commodification (audio) \ noun

Examples of commodify in a Sentence

Do we really want to commodify our water supply? I feel like our culture is being commodified.
Recent Examples on the Web Yet some on the left say economic arguments commodify immigrants or denigrate the native work force. Jason Deparle, New York Times, "The Open Borders Trap," 5 Mar. 2020 Who is benefiting from it and who is commodifying it? Randy Lewis, Los Angeles Times, "The radical inclusiveness of Rhiannon Giddens," 8 Oct. 2019 Given that scientists from every corner of the globe agree that the world has an ever-shortening window to curb emissions, allowing the extractive industries an easier path to commodify the Earth is extremely alarming. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "Trump Finds a New Way to Lick the Boot of the Fossil Fuel Industry," 10 Jan. 2020 The passing of the Sept. 13 deadline also means the end of an era in which the U.S. defied a shift in global privacy norms, and allowed American companies to commodify consumer data. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Here Comes America’s First Privacy Law: What the CCPA Means for Business and Consumers," 13 Sep. 2019 Under Drew's direction, the panel touched on everything from the importance of celebrating being out to the danger of commodifying queerness to the barriers that technology has broken down for LGBTQ artists in the streaming era. Joe Lynch, Billboard, "Billboard Pride Summit: Pride In the Corner Office Spotlights LGBTQ Execs," 8 Aug. 2019 For the novel today, the more valid aesthetic and ethical questions concern the possibility of speaking about trauma without commodifying or further devaluing it. Merve Emre, The New York Review of Books, "‘Dismembered, Relocated, Rearranged’," 6 June 2019 But race and racial tension — especially in the context of continued violence against people of color in the United States, an issue on which the public is deeply divided — are not quite as easy to simply commodify and brand. Sarah Banet-weiser, Vox, "Nike’s Kaepernick ad continues — and tweaks — the tradition of brands commodifying politics.," 7 Sep. 2018 Suddenly, every slur, insult, and caricature seems like a golden opportunity to commodify and profit from the most repellent sound bites. Sonia K. Katyal,, "The sudden rush of vulgar trademarks," 23 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'commodify.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of commodify

1976, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for commodify

see commodity

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about commodify

Time Traveler for commodify

Time Traveler

The first known use of commodify was in 1976

See more words from the same year

Statistics for commodify

Last Updated

24 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Commodify.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for commodify



Financial Definition of commodification

What It Is

Commodification refers to a good or service becoming indistinguishable from similar products.

How It Works

To be considered a commodity, an item must satisfy three conditions: 1) it must be standardized and, for agricultural and industrial commodities, in a "raw" state; 2) it must be usable upon delivery; and 3) its price must vary enough to justify creating a market for it.

Most people understand commoditization pertaining to corn, soybeans, cotton, or other raw materials (i.e., the idea that "it's all the same."), but financial instruments can be commoditized, too.

For example, in the past, every mortgage issued was considered unique -- that is, the terms and conditions of the loans were customized to the borrower and the property. Over time, however, the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) Mac), and the Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA) commoditized mortgages by offering to buy almost any mortgage that met a set of conforming standards. By creating a massive market for mortgages, these agencies encouraged banks to streamline and standardize the types of mortgages they offer to consumers.  Therefore, commodification is present in mortgages today.

Why It Matters

Commodification makes an asset easier to trade makes the market more liquid. In some cases, this can add volatility to the price of the commoditized entity, but in other cases it can spur economic activity.

In the mortgage industry, commodification allows lenders to receive cash from selling conforming mortgages to government agencies and government-sponsored entities. Banks can then use the cash to issue more loans, which theoretically spurs economic growth.

Source: Investing Answers


How to pronounce commodify (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of commodify

disapproving : to treat (something that cannot be owned or that everyone has a right to) like a product that can be bought and sold

More from Merriam-Webster on commodify

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for commodify

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with commodify

Comments on commodify

What made you want to look up commodify? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!