Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To regard or treat (an abstraction) as if it had concrete or material existence.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To regard something abstract as if it were a concrete material thing.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make into a thing; make real or material; consider as a thing.

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

  • v. consider an abstract concept to be real

Etymologies

Latin rēs, rē-, thing; see rē- in Indo-European roots + -fy.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Back-formation from reification, calque from German. Formed as Latin rēs ("thing") +‎ -ify (English suffix). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I implemented my lazymap library in terms reify where gen-class was required before.

    Netvouz - new bookmarks

  • Factor analysis is harmless as data reduction, but it is tempting to "reify" the factors, to suppose that they are the hidden causes behind the observations.

    American Scientist Online

  • The usual inclination, however, is to reify, sometimes magnify, differences, especially when we consider culture and violence.

    Bloodlust

  • It is easy to reify the categories—German and Jew, Hutu and Tutsi, Turk and Armenian, Catholic Irish and Protestant Irish—but difficult to flesh them out.

    Bloodlust

  • No, Obama has thrown down the gauntlet, and is trying to reify the sloganeering of the 1960s.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » What’s next for the Obama Administration?

  • I have been witness to efforts by some in the Middle East to twist and distort comments made by American policymakers, Israeli leaders, and others in order to reify their fantastic but unreal constructs explaining some international event or accident or decision.

    Steve Clemons: Conspiracism American Style: The Daniel Levy Debate

  • A law student might even claim that it does more than reify our sins, but that it alsodispenses justice, if it were not for the fact that not only the greedy now suffer.

    A Guide To Investing In Recession : Law is Cool

  • Markus might as well have been describing the existential state of a burgeoning class of male poets who use masculine-coded grammar, syntax, diction, rhythm, and rhetoric to reify the terminally-compromised state of masculinity in the present era.

    Seth Abramson: December 2011 Contemporary Poetry Reviews

  • This is done in order to reify that binary and make it appear to be "natural," rather than arbitrary.

    Boing Boing

  • When Helen posted the headline ‘Cis man murders woman’ recently it * was* surprising, because it de-familiarised the usual power imbalances that journalists just unthinkingly reify.

    Trans woman murdered in Belgrade

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Comments

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  • Using or misusing this word is a in-group password in our social sciences grad program. The concept seems important - I still 'intensely dislike' the word.

    June 28, 2008

  • A law professor used this in a lecture today. I didn't know what it meant then, but I'm now fairly sure she wasn't using it correctly.

    March 26, 2008

  • wha? oh MAN.....

    March 12, 2008