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 These individuals embody the tale the country likes to tell the world about its economic expansion over the past 30 years. Snigdha Poonam, The Atlantic, "The People Profiting Off the Pandemic in India," 16 Jan. 2021 When used as a representation for the aspects of ourselves that most frighten us, it is often rendered through embarrassingly on-the-nose grotesqueries—consider Dante's Inferno, an action game with bosses that literally embody the seven deadly sins. Joshua Rivera, Wired, "Video Game Hell Isn’t Nearly Agonizing Enough," 22 Dec. 2020 In the 1920s and 1930s, many white consumers swapped waxes and bleaches for tanning lotions as seasonal tanning came to embody new forms of white privilege. Lynn M. Thomas, Quartz Africa, "The skin lightening industry’s history of colorism and the impact of Black Lives Matter," 29 Nov. 2020 The ambiguities and the energy of the scene embody modern life, both exhilarating and unnerving in its confusion. William C. Agee, WSJ, "New American Movement," 25 Dec. 2020 Warehouse raves, bottle-service clubs, and Jazzercise classes all embody the disco sensibility. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "How Disco Defined 2020," 23 Dec. 2020 With an ebullience that matched Shopify’s soaring stock price, Finkelstein seemed to embody both the company’s wide-reaching ambitions and its Canadian wholesomeness. New York Times, "Can Shopify Compete with Amazon Without Becoming Amazon?," 17 Nov. 2020 The joyful celebrations across the country through the day had been in Joe Biden’s name but in the spirit that Harris had been appointed to the ticket to embody: of young people in cities, of many different races, who had a feeling for the future. Benjamin Wallace-wells, The New Yorker, "Joe Biden’s Faith in America," 8 Nov. 2020 Our graduates embody the values of honor, respect, civility, self-discipline, and professionalism. Washington Post, "VMI removes statue of Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson after long resistance," 7 Dec. 2020

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

24 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Embody.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/embody. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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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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