edify

verb
ed·​i·​fy | \ ˈe-də-ˌfī How to pronounce edify (audio) \
edified; edifying

Definition of edify

transitive verb

1 : to instruct and improve especially in moral and religious knowledge : uplift also : enlighten, inform
2 archaic
a : build

Keep scrolling for more

Edify Has Latin Roots

The Latin noun aedes, meaning "house" or "temple," is the root of aedificare, a verb meaning "to erect a house." Generations of speakers built on that meaning, and by the Late Latin period, the verb had gained the figurative sense of "to instruct or improve spiritually." The word eventually passed through Anglo-French before Middle English speakers adopted it as edify during the 14th century. Two of its early meanings, "to build" and "to establish," are now considered archaic; the only current sense of edify is essentially the same as that figurative meaning in Late Latin, "to instruct and improve in moral and religious knowledge."

Examples of edify in a Sentence

These books will both entertain and edify readers. a family-oriented show that tried to edify the television audience as well as entertain it
Recent Examples on the Web So be intentional about edifying your mind, body, and spirit. Ashley Mcdonough, Essence, "Laid Off? On Forced Funemployment? Now Is The Time To Reset," 12 Nov. 2019 At a time when Britain is fighting rising Islamophobia, the outpouring of affection for an Egyptian-national superstar who is proud and public about his Muslim faith has been edifying. Grant Wahl, SI.com, "After Remarkable Rise, Mohamed Salah Shoulders Egypt's World Cup Hopes," 29 May 2018 Architecture to me is successful when the community is empowered by it, is edified by it, and is elevated by it. Steven Litt, cleveland.com, "Q&A with David Adjaye, designer of Smithsonian's African American museum," 13 May 2018 Take, as an edifying out-of-town example, the Atlantic Casino Hilton Hotel, built in 1985. Yvonne Abraham, BostonGlobe.com, "The Wynn mess, and the Mass. Gaming Commission’s big problem," 4 Apr. 2018 The problem is, the debate usually devolves into a facile back and forth that edifies no one. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Don't bother Doc. He's mock-drafting the 2018 NFL Draft. Pay attention, mobsters.," 21 Mar. 2018 And the thought of the administration’s settling for second best out of expediency, or vamping indefinitely until Maestro Right should miraculously appear, wasn’t edifying. John Von Rhein, chicagotribune.com, "Muti re-ups at CSO through 2022, announces a 2018-19 season honoring Armistice centennial," 30 Jan. 2018 The past several weeks haven’t been particularly edifying for the health of American culture. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Our Dumbed-Down Culture," 13 Oct. 2017 Reality agreed to date her high-school boyfriend, Carlos, on certain conditions intended to improve and to edify. Kerry Howley, Daily Intelligencer, "‘The World’s Biggest Terrorist Has a Pikachu Bedspread’," 22 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'edify.' 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 edify

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for edify

Middle English, from Anglo-French edifier, from Late Latin & Latin; Late Latin aedificare to instruct or improve spiritually, from Latin, to erect a house, from aedes temple, house; akin to Old English ād funeral pyre, Latin aestas summer

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about edify

Time Traveler for edify

Time Traveler

The first known use of edify was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about edify

Statistics for edify

Last Updated

17 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Edify.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/edifies. Accessed 21 November 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for edify

edify

verb
How to pronounce edify (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of edify

: to teach (someone) in a way that improves the mind or character

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on edify

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for edify

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with edify

Spanish Central: Translation of edify

Nglish: Translation of edify for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of edify for Arabic Speakers

Comments on edify

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

WORD OF THE DAY

strength of mind

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • pasta resembling wheels with spokes
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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