Definitions

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

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

from The Century Dictionary.

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

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

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

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

  • verb consider an abstract concept to be real

Etymologies

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

[Latin rēs, rē-, thing; see rē- in Indo-European roots + –fy.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Back-formation from reification, calque from German. Formed as Latin rēs ("thing") +‎ -ify (English suffix).

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

  • 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.

    2009 March : Law is Cool

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

    Bloodlust

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

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

    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?

Comments

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

  • wha? oh MAN.....

    March 12, 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

  • 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

  • Something odd is happening here. If you click on the hyperlinked “reify” in Jimmydiamonds comment you go to an entry page for the word that contains only his comment. I thought this was a surprising omission, since reify is a well-established word. If you enter “reify” in the search box you will come to a full entry for the word. What gives?

    January 15, 2016

  • Looks lika a little space has snuck into the link, making it " reify". I make that mistake a lot when I copy/paste things.

    January 15, 2016