[14] As its close relative edifice [14] suggests, edify has to do literally with ‘building’. And in fact its underlying etymological sense is ‘building a hearth’. That was the original sense of Latin aedis. Gradually, though, it was extended, in a familiar metaphorical transition, from ‘hearth’ to ‘home’ and ‘dwelling’. Addition of a verbal element related to facere ‘make’ produced aedificāre ‘build a house’, or simply ‘build’. Its figurative application to ‘instruction’ or ‘enlightenment’ took place in Latin, and has no doubt been reinforced in English (which acquired the word from Old French edifier) by its accidental similarity to educate.

The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins. 2013.

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  • 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… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • edify — [ed′i fī΄] vt. edified, edifying [ME edifien < OFr edifier < L aedificare, to build, construct (in LL(Ec) to edify) < aedes, a dwelling, house, temple, orig., hearth, fireplace < IE base * ai dh , to burn (> Gr aithein, to burn, OE …   English World dictionary

  • Edify — Ed i*fy, v. i. To improve. [R.] Swift. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • edify — I verb brief, coach, direct, discipline, docere, educate, enlarge the mind, enlighten, guide, improve, inform, instruct, prime, school, show, strengthen, teach, train, tutor, upbuild, uplift II index disabuse, educate, enlighten …   Law dictionary

  • edify — mid 14c., to build, construct, also, in figurative use, to build up morally or in faith, from O.Fr. edefiier build, install, teach, instruct (morally), from L. aedificare to build, construct, in Late Latin improve spiritually, instruct (see… …   Etymology dictionary

  • edify — ► VERB (edifies, edified) ▪ instruct or improve morally or intellectually. DERIVATIVES edification noun edifying adjective. ORIGIN Latin aedificare build …   English terms dictionary

  • edify — UK [ˈedɪfaɪ] / US [ˈedəˌfaɪ] verb [transitive] Word forms edify : present tense I/you/we/they edify he/she/it edifies present participle edifying past tense edified past participle edified formal to teach someone something that increases their… …   English dictionary

  • edify — edifier, n. edifyingly, adv. /ed euh fuy/, v.t., edified, edifying. to instruct or benefit, esp. morally or spiritually; uplift: religious paintings that edify the viewer. [1300 50; ME edifien < AF, OF edifier < L aedificare to build, equiv. to… …   Universalium

  • edify — verb /ˈɛdɪfaɪ/ a) To build, construct. That Castle was most goodly edifyde, / And plaste for pleasure nigh that forrest syde [...]. b) To instruct or improve morally or intellectually. That the …   Wiktionary

  • edify — ed•i•fy [[t]ˈɛd ə faɪ[/t]] v. t. fied, fy•ing to instruct or benefit, esp. morally or spiritually; uplift; enlighten • Etymology: 1300–50; ME < AF, OF edifier < L aedificāre to build (LL: to edify, strengthen) =aedi , s. of aedes house,… …   From formal English to slang

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