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!
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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