Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To have complicating consequences or outgrowths.
  • intransitive verb To send out branches or subordinate branchlike parts.
  • intransitive verb To divide into or cause to extend in branches or subordinate branchlike parts.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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

Etymologies

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

[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.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French ramifier, from Medieval Latin *ramificare ("to branch, ramify"), from Latin rāmus ("a branch") + faciō ("do, make").

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

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

    Inside the EPA

  • 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

  • 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?

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

    Infectious Exuberance

  • 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?

  • 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?

  • 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.

    Dan Schiller: 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

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