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

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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

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 While commodifying a basic human need seemed horrifying at first, the Dreamery is an experience that even one of the most skeptical of editors enjoyed. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "A breakdown of this year’s brand winners and losers.," 27 Dec. 2018 Capitalism is also beginning to commodify our emotions, our attentions, and our affections. Sean Illing, Vox, "Why women have better sex under socialism, according to an anthropologist," 12 Dec. 2018 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 Van Donna describes herself as a pop artist, but where Andy Warhol created pop art to commodify the ordinary, Van Donna uses its techniques to explore themes like romance and luxury. Meagan Fredette,, "Say It With Art: Get Your Bae The Same Painting Prince Harry Gave Meghan Markle," 7 July 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 The movie business can’t be allowed to commodify diversity for its own ends. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "The real reason we need more diversity in film criticism," 22 June 2018 Three women who have filed lawsuits in different states charge that surrogacy contracts are exploitative to birth mothers, create a class of women as breeders and commodify children. Paige Winfield Cunningham, Washington Post, "The Health 202: There's a fight brewing between the Trump administration and drugmakers," 17 May 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.

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First Known Use of commodify

1976, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for commodify

see commodity

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Statistics for commodify

Last Updated

29 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for commodify

The first known use of commodify was in 1976

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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



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

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