em·​body | \ im-ˈbä-dē How to pronounce embody (audio) \
embodied; embodying

Definition of embody

transitive verb

1 : to give a body to (a spirit) : incarnate
2a : to deprive of spirituality
b : to make concrete and perceptible
3 : to cause to become a body or part of a body : incorporate
4 : to represent in human or animal form : personify men who greatly embodied the idealism of American life— A. M. Schlesinger born 1917

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Other Words from embody

embodier noun

Examples of embody in a Sentence

The legislature embodied a revenue provision in the new law. they must embody their ideas in substantial institutions if they are to survive
Recent Examples on the Web That was thoroughly in keeping with the storytelling: Gosling believably embodied a calm, steady and experienced counterpart to Stone’s nervy free spirit. Washington Post, "These 18 movie stars are also amazing dancers. That’s their real superpower.," 9 Jan. 2020 Or does the driver embody greater potential value to society than the 32-year-old accountant with cystic fibrosis whose doctor just said the end of her life is near? Edward Lotterman, Twin Cities, "Real World Economics: Fatal high-rise fire raises wider cost and benefit questions," 22 Dec. 2019 To some extent, then, Baumbach’s movie fingers the lawyers as the murderers of Charlie and Nicole’s relationship, suggesting that amicable uncoupling and happy co-parenting might be possible absent the divorce regime that the legal sharks embody. Ross Douthat, National Review, "Families Are the Murder Victims in Knives Out! and Marriage Story," 19 Dec. 2019 Ramey, Hamm and Febres embodied the type of urgency Smart wants to see his team play with for 40 full minutes. Nick Moyle, ExpressNews.com, "Jase Febres fuels Texas Longhorns’ comeback win over Central Michigan," 14 Dec. 2019 Actors of color are cast in all major roles, embodying historical figures who in real life were white. Mary Carole Mccauley, baltimoresun.com, "If you missed seeing Hamilton in Baltimore this summer, here’s when you’ll have another chance," 10 Dec. 2019 Often known simply as The Great Wave, the popular print not only embodied Japanese art, but influenced a generation of artists in Europe, from Van Gogh to Monet. Roger Catlin, Smithsonian, "A Great Wave of Hokusai," 9 Dec. 2019 Inside, on the main floor, one embodying Cancer the Crab hung upside down from the ceiling: eyes closed, suspended over a hoop, hand-claws splayed, rotating slowly. Alexandra Jacobs, SFChronicle.com, "Life after Barneys: When department stores were theater," 7 Dec. 2019 Regardless, many pushed back against Haley’s characterization of what the flag has embodied for Americans. Madeleine Carlisle, Time, "Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley Says South Carolinians Saw the Confederate Flag as 'Service' Before Dylan Roof 'Hijacked' It," 7 Dec. 2019

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

circa 1548, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for embody

Time Traveler

The first known use of embody was circa 1548

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Statistics for embody

Last Updated

14 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Embody.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/embodier. Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for embody


How to pronounce embody (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of embody

: to represent (something) in a clear and obvious way : to be a symbol or example of (something)
formal : to include (something) as a part or feature


em·​body | \ im-ˈbä-dē How to pronounce embody (audio) \
embodied; embodying

Kids Definition of embody

1 : to give form to The poet embodied her ideas in words.
2 : to represent in visible form The firefighters embodied courage during the disaster.
3 : to make something a body or system or part of a body or system The basic law of the United States is embodied in its constitution.

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More from Merriam-Webster on embody

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for embody

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with embody

Spanish Central: Translation of embody

Nglish: Translation of embody for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of embody for Arabic Speakers

Comments on embody

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


to insert between existing elements

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