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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 unedifying
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But we will not follow this unedifying conversation further.

  • In the course of this process he fell into adventures, some of them, perhaps, unedifying.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • The birth-stories of Gods are always grotesque and unedifying, but that is because they belong to folk-lore.

    God and Mr. Wells William Archer
  • Punch's unedifying life was fostering languor within their breasts.

    A Love Episode Emile Zola
  • His language I will not repeat—but canting knave, hypocrite, rascal attor—no, it is useless and unedifying to repeat it.

  • In Brittany, the "wake" is almost as common as it is in Ireland, and quite as frequently degenerates into an unedifying spectacle.

    A History of Mourning Richard Davey
  • The first is insignificant; and the second even Professor Masson pronounces, "as a digest of logic, disorderly and unedifying."

    Life of John Milton Richard Garnett
  • The discredit into which he fell was due partly to the unedifying incidents of his personal career.

  • The cylinders usually gyrate with records of fatuous music-hall songs, unedifying coster-airs and farcical speeches.

British Dictionary definitions for unedifying


not having the result of improving morality, intellect, etc


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 unedifying

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 unedifying



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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