To edify is to help someone understand, whether it is books that edify those who want to learn a new language, or the explanations that hang beside paintings at a museum that edify visitors who aren't familiar with the artist.

If you know that the noun edifice is a synonym for building, you may wonder what the related verb edify has to do with understanding. You can think of something that edifies as the building blocks of what might become a lifelong interest, like an elementary school teacher who edifies the student who becomes an Abraham Lincoln scholar, or an activity you eventually master, like the beginners' lessons that edify new ice skaters.

Definitions of edify
  1. verb
    make understand
    synonyms: enlighten
    see moresee less
    type of:
    instruct, learn, teach
    impart skills or knowledge to
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week