verb (edifies, edifying, edified)[with object] formal
- But there are some who desire to know that they may edify others, and that is praiseworthy; and there are some who desire to know that they themselves may be edified, and that is wise.
- Let the one in books that speak the truth edify religious men, and the other in lying fables delight impure demons.
- Some are called to sow, others to reap some are eminently qualified to awaken sinners, others to edify saints.
Middle English: from Old French edifier, from Latin aedificare 'build', from aedis 'dwelling' + facere 'make' (compare with edifice). The word originally meant 'construct a building', also 'strengthen', hence to “build up” morally or spiritually.
In the Middle Ages to edify was to construct a building. This reflected the word's origin, Latin aedificare, from aedis ‘house, dwelling’ and facere ‘to make’. It quickly took on the extended sense of ‘building up’ someone in moral or intellectual terms. Aedis also gave us edifice (Late Middle English), a formal word for a building.
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