Word of the Day : April 7, 2018

reify

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verb RAY-uh-fye

Definition

: to consider or represent (something abstract) as a material or concrete thing : to give definite content and form to (a concept or idea)

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. Each word combines the Latin res with an English suffix (-fy and -fication, respectively) that is derived from the Latin -ficare, meaning "to make." 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.


Examples

"Increased awareness of automated surveillance, in other words, is most effective at demystifying the systems doing the watching, not reifying their wisdom and authority." — John Herrman, The New York Times, 14 Jan. 2018

"The home is a haven to be sure. There neatness scrubs away history like grease while retaining the polished signs of the past and reifying the timeless." — William H. Gass, The New York Times Book Review, 3 Aug. 1986



Word Family Quiz

What relative of Latin res refers to a riddle or puzzle made up of letters, pictures, or symbols whose names sound like the parts of a word or phrase?

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