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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ The movie neither edifies nor entertains its viewers.
▪ I've had to edit ten years of your memories, a lot of which weren't edifying.
▪ It does not matter whether the purpose is to educate or edify, to corrupt or simply to make money.
▪ It was edifying to see how much excitement Ibrahim and the band could generate without shouting.
▪ No doubt in time Hamish will edify us on the subject of bastardised Corbetts.
▪ The arts, in short, were pleasant and edifying if not quite essential.
▪ The corporate form has always been in ceaseless conflict with the edifying spirit of man.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Edify \Ed"i*fy\, v. i. To improve. [R.]


Edify \Ed"i*fy\, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Edified; p. pr. & vb. n. Edifying.] [F. ['e]difier, L. aedificare; aedes a building, house, orig., a fireplace (akin to Gr. ? to burn, Skr. idh to kindle, OHG. eit funeral pile, AS. [=a]d, OIr. aed fire) + facere to make. See Fact, -fy.]

  1. To build; to construct. [Archaic]

    There was a holy chapel edified.

  2. To instruct and improve, especially in moral and religious knowledge; to teach.

    It does not appear probable that our dispute [about miracles] would either edify or enlighten the public.

  3. To teach or persuade. [Obs.]

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

mid-14c., "to build, construct," also, in figurative use, "to build up morally or in faith," from Old French edefiier (12c., Modern French édifier) "build; install; teach, instruct (morally)," from Latin aedificare "to build, construct," in Late Latin "improve spiritually, instruct" (see edifice). Related: Edified; edifying.


vb. 1 (context now rare English) To build, construct. 2 (context transitive English) To instruct or improve morally or intellectually.

  1. v. make understand; "Can you enlighten me--I don't understand this proposal" [syn: enlighten]

  2. [also: edified]

Usage examples of "edify".

The two lovely sisters looked more beautiful than ever, but I did not think it necessary to tell them the history of my nine months absence, for it would not have edified the aunt or pleased the nieces.

I was then quartered at the sign of the Four Crosses in Southwark, then kept by a worthy man, one John Dolman, with whom I had much edifying speech concerning predestination.

While we were bantering in this edifying fashion, the table had been laid, and we sat down to supper.

I felt that though some comforted and edified by his talk, still, my heart was not there, not there in that double buggy with 2 seats, but wuz afur off with my pardner.

The earlier homogeneity of American society has been impaired, and no authoritative and edifying, but conscious, social ideal has as yet taken its place.

The complaints and mutual accusations which assailed the throne of Constantine, as soon as the death of Maxentius had submitted Africa to his victorious arms, were ill adapted to edify an imperfect proselyte.

The Cocceian brought all his questions into the pulpit, where he preached them in a manner more adapted to addle the heads of his hearers than to edify their hearts.

The Indians were driven off as slaves, and the Mamelucos, with their usual sense of humour, attended Mass as penitents on Christmas Day, with candles in their hands, and listened to the sermon in an edifying way.

Perhaps a work which should chronicle the opposite course, which should trace out all the devious courses through which a man of the world, a man of ambitions, drags his conscience, just steering clear of crime that he may gain his end and yet save appearances, such a chronicle would be no less edifying and no less dramatic.

The two lovely sisters looked more beautiful than ever, but I did not think it necessary to tell them the history of my nine months absence, for it would not have edified the aunt or pleased the nieces.

Snagsby looking deeply edified, Mr. Snagsby thinks it expedient on the whole to say amen, which is well received.

It must be observed that one of Sam's especial delights had been to ride in attendance on his master to all kinds of political gatherings, where, roosted on some rail fence, or perched aloft in some tree, he would sit watching the orators, with the greatest apparent gusto, and then, descending among the various brethren of his own color, assembled on the same errand, he would edify and delight them with the most ludicrous burlesques and imitations, all delivered with the most imperturbable earnestness and solemnity.

The water looked as edifying as crystal, as clinquant as faery promises.

  In the field of battle, in partial encounters, in single combats, he was still the terror of the Barbarians: the clergy, and particularly his friend Augustin, were edified by the Christian piety which had once tempted him to retire from the world.

A century ago the pious Coopers used it not for portfolios, but for a gigantic Bible, which was thus displayed, opened each day to some edifying passage, in the Great Hall.