Stratify means to divide into layers or classes. Announcing pay raises for only half of the employees in a company would be a quick way to stratify the office.

Stratify is often used in the context of geology, when materials in the earth’s crust stratify, or form layers. This phenomenon serves as an apt metaphor for other uses of the word, particularly as it's applied to social situations. If you attend a party for geologists and notice that the mineralogists are ignoring the petrologists (and the vulcanologist didn’t even bother to show up), you might conclude that something has caused this group of geologists to stratify.

Definitions of stratify

v form, arrange, or deposit in layers

“The fish are stratified in barrels”
“The rock was stratified by the force of the water”
“A statistician stratifies the list of names according to the addresses”
arrange rocks in alternating strata
Type of:
lay, place, pose, position, put, set
put into a certain place or abstract location

v form layers or strata

“The rock stratifies
Type of:
arrange, set up
put into a proper or systematic order

v render fertile and preserve by placing between layers of earth or sand

stratify seeds”
Type of:
fecundate, fertilise, fertilize, inseminate
introduce semen into (a female)

v develop different social levels, classes, or castes

“Society stratifies when the income gap widens”
Type of:
undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature

v divide society into social classes or castes

“Income distribution often stratifies a society”
Type of:
differentiate, distinguish, secern, secernate, separate, severalise, severalize, tell, tell apart
mark as different

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