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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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This, in another form, is the edifying story of the Sacred Beetle whose pellet has rolled into a rut.

  • He is probably an edifying spectacle by this time, a mush of maudlin penitence.

    The Dominant Strain Anna Chapin Ray
  • To study the flower of the nation at close range is no longer an edifying occupation.

    The Goose Man Jacob Wassermann
  • And besides, that edifying sight alone might start the trouble for all I know.

    Victory Joseph Conrad
  • As soon as this edifying chapter was ended, Mr. Effingham commenced the solemn rites for the dead.

    Homeward Bound James Fenimore Cooper
  • "I'm sure that's an edifying tale" says Sir Penthony, with a deep show of interest.

    Molly Bawn Margaret Wolfe Hamilton
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
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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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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