Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To have complicating consequences or outgrowths: The problem merely ramified after the unsuccessful meeting.
  • intransitive v. To send out branches or subordinate branchlike parts.
  • transitive v. To divide into or cause to extend in branches or subordinate branchlike parts.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To divide into branches or subdivisions.
  • v. To spread or diversify into multiple fields or categories.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To shoot, or divide, into branches or subdivisions, as the stem of a plant.
  • intransitive v. To be divided or subdivided, as a main subject.
  • transitive v. To divide into branches or subdivisions.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To form branches; shoot into branches, as the stem of a plant, or anything analogous to it; branch out.
  • To diverge in various ways or to different points; stretch out in different lines or courses; radiate.
  • To divide into branches or parts; extend in different lines or directions.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. divide into two or more branches so as to form a fork
  • v. have or develop complicating consequences
  • v. grow and send out branches or branch-like structures

Etymologies

Middle English ramifien, to branch out, from Old French ramifier, from Medieval Latin rāmificāre : Latin rāmus, branch; see wrād- in Indo-European roots + Latin -ficāre, -fy.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French ramifier, from Medieval Latin *ramificare ("to branch, ramify"), from Latin rāmus ("a branch") + faciō ("do, make"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The word ramify has appeared in one Times article over the past year and only four times in the past five years, most recently in the July 11, 2010 Sunday Magazine cover article by Robert F.

    NYT > Home Page

  • Slide 8: The Ramage or Conical Clan • Internally ranked, or hierarchical, social organization • Tendency to "ramify," that is subordinate lineages split off main group to found new communities • Over time this process results in long-distance - island-hopping - migrations that resulted in peopling of Polynesia by Austronesian-speaking peoples

    Recently Uploaded Slideshows

  • Sitting in a studio flat in Warren Street with the windows shut, I began to recall how sound would ramify around my uncle's house in south Calcutta, always suggesting an elsewhere; around this time, I became aware that the soundtracks in Satyajit Ray's and Jean Renoir's films were as intent on capturing this elsewhere as they were in attending to the main story.

    Amit Chaudhuri's musical circumnavigation

  • But the incident shows that even minor mistakes or degraded systems can ramify throughout the grid.

    Inside the EPA

  • A second wrinkle: the repercussions from YouTube's difficulties extend and ramify throughout the greater communications system, in a way that is quite unlike Life's.

    Is YouTube the Successor to Television -- Or to LIFE Magazine?

  • Criticisms and piratical practices in any of these realms have the potential to ramify into major challenges to the conceptual structure of modern intellectual property itself.

    Dangers of over-zealous intellectual property cops

  • And once busts become severe enough, they prompt changes in the national mood that ramify well beyond economic affairs.

    Infectious Exuberance

  • The point -- which I fear many Americans have ignored or denied -- is that Pakistanis are people who are suffering and will continue to suffer, as food shortages caused by the destruction of crops ramify through Pakistani society over the coming months and beyond.

    Ethan Casey: What Does Pakistan Have to Do With Haiti?

  • He simply took a cutting from the tree of life, and, planting it in the rich soil of his imagination, let it ramify and burgeon as it would.

    Little Eyolf

  • There's no single answer; some analysts attributed the jump to positive sales at Costco and Wal-Mart, plus a sense that the sub-prime debacle isn't going to ramify into a broader economic calamity.

    Adam Hanft: Market Hits High, Congress Hits President; A Different and Dangerous "Two Americas"

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.