Definition of reify
: to consider or represent (something abstract) as a material or concrete thing : to give definite content and form to (a concept or idea) … the diversity rationale also insultingly assumes that black students bring a black “point of view,” Asians an Asian one and so on, thus reifying the very barriers of race and ethnicity that affirmative action is meant to erase. — James Traub
reify was our Word of the Day on 07/02/2008. Hear the podcast!
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Recent Examples of reify from the Web
Yet inexplicably, Dolan picked up the two-year option on Jackson’s contract in the same week, reifying the only possible justification for keeping Phil on board.
Like a fine wine, Walla Walla sweets reify their terroir; their sweetness comes from a low amount of sulfur in the soil of the region (which also happens to produce fine wine).
These words that reify concepts are a cognitive tool.
But Cohen certainly goes across the street and around the corner to reify certain stereotypes about hedge fund managers.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reify'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Reify is a word that attempts to provide a bridge between what is abstract and what is real. Fittingly, it derives from a word that is an ancestor to "real" - the Latin noun res, meaning "thing." Both "reify" and the related noun "reification" first appeared in English in the mid-19th century, though "reification" is a few years older and some dictionaries consider "reify" to be a back-formation of the noun. In general use, the words refer to the act of considering or presenting an abstract idea in real or material terms, or of judging something by a concrete example.
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