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[ed-uh-fahy] /ˈɛd ə faɪ/
verb (used with object), edified, edifying.
to instruct or benefit, especially morally or spiritually; uplift:
religious paintings that edify the viewer.
Origin of edify
1300-50; Middle English edifien < Anglo-French, Old French edifier < Latin aedificāre to build, equivalent to aedi- (stem of aedes) house, temple + -ficāre -fy
Related forms
edifier, noun
edifyingly, adverb
nonedified, adjective
reedify, verb (used with object), reedified, reedifying.
unedified, adjective
unedifying, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for edifying
  • IT is edifying to see a consummate artist continue to grow.
  • Instead of gossiping at meals, edifying books are read aloud.
  • Other manifestations of the fervour of the poor were a little less edifying.
  • The scientific method is one of constant testing of hypotheses, and mistakes can be as edifying as successes.
  • Its slowly evolving abstract landscapes are both edifying and life-affirming.
  • But for anyone interested in pure truth, the result isn't necessarily edifying.
  • For this reason, for me personally, the content in this column is as educational as it is edifying.
  • The chimps themselves have become the edifying mirror of the old ape houses.
  • There is nothing at all fascinating or edifying here.
  • After that the land played various roles in art: as a setting for morally edifying episodes, a symbol of order or of the awe.
British Dictionary definitions for edifying


verb -fies, -fying, -fied
(transitive) to improve the morality, intellect, etc, of, esp by instruction
Derived Forms
edifier, noun
edifying, adjective
edifyingly, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Old French edifier, from Latin aedificāre to construct, from aedēs a dwelling, temple + facere to make
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Contemporary definitions for edifying

to inform or enlighten intellectually or spiritually

Word Origin

Latin aedes 'building' + -ficare 'to make'

Usage Note

transitive's 21st Century Lexicon
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Word Origin and History for edifying



mid-14c., "to build, construct," also, in figurative use, "to build up morally or in faith," from Old French edefiier "build, install, teach, instruct (morally)," from Latin aedificare "to build, construct," in Late Latin "improve spiritually, instruct" (see edifice). Related: Edified; edifying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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