Definition of embody in English:


verbembodying, embodies, embodied

[with object]
  • 1Be an expression of or give a tangible or visible form to (an idea, quality, or feeling)

    ‘a national team that embodies competitive spirit and skill’
    • ‘Models can also be called upon to embody moods or ideas.’
    • ‘For better or worse, the paternalism and condescension towards the public which is embodied in the very idea of a publication ban has been fatally short-circuited.’
    • ‘Firm but fair, educated but impulsive, he embodies the finer qualities of a paternalistic seafarer proud of his ability to serve his country.’
    • ‘This idea embodies low expectations about economic development.’
    • ‘That these preferences could be expressed as embodying new ideas as well as satisfying specific interests was in our view crucial.’
    • ‘More to the point, if we would like to see the four structural components of science to be in harmony with Islam, then we have to make sure that they have been shaped by the relevant ideas embodied in those sciences.’
    • ‘And they've taken as their own, as their representative American, someone who actually embodies all of those qualities.’
    • ‘This ambition was embodied in a number of institutions that were set up, or profoundly reformed, at the Liberation.’
    • ‘The idea of progress embodies the faith - for it is a faith, not the result of any kind of empirical inquiry - that the advance that has occurred in science can be replicated in ethics and politics.’
    • ‘You just want to say: shut up and let me decide for myself whether, for instance, the Jewish Museum in Berlin embodies these feelings of terror and anguish or not.’
    • ‘To be honest, my original idea embodied the somewhat escapist idea that we could go back to the time before the attacks, that we could undo what had happened.’
    • ‘Social hierarchy cannot and does not exist without being embodied in meanings and expressed in communications.’
    • ‘The idea of total war embodies a rare quality among interpretations of the American Civil War: it is without sectional bias.’
    • ‘As the opera is named after her, Carmen dominates the cast, and every theme and idea is embodied in her character.’
    • ‘‘Only ideas embodied in people, machines or goods have economic value,’ they write.’
    • ‘And it makes sense, too, as other cultures (Arabic and Chinese come to mind) have used symbols and words that embody an idea or state of being for ages.’
    • ‘Their latest album, the award winning ‘The Simplest Plans’ has earned them a large fan base and a reputation for embodying the spirit of ‘Americana’ music.’
    • ‘We want figures who embody our feelings, represent a wise assimilation and a thoughtful new political response.’
    • ‘It is significant that the expression of public disapproval embodied in the Western Australian three strikes law is directed in practice so narrowly at youth offenders.’
    • ‘How, specifically, were these ideas embodied in the books themselves?’
    personify, incorporate, give human form to, give human shape to, realize, manifest, express, concretize, symbolize, represent, epitomize, stand for, encapsulate, typify, exemplify
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    1. 1.1 Provide (a spirit) with a physical form.
      ‘nothing of the personality of the Spirit as embodied in Jesus will be lost’
      • ‘The Mowachaht-Muchalaht believe Luna embodies the spirit of their late chief, Ambrose Maquinna, who said he would return to them in the form of a whale after he died.’
  • 2Include or contain (something) as a constituent part.

    ‘the changes in law embodied in the Children Act’
    • ‘Despite their imposing title, they were not embodied in any constitutional document and were never formally written down.’
    • ‘The first formula that bridged the gap was embodied in the Nairobi Declaration of April 1993.’
    • ‘In this particular case, the parties agreed, and it was embodied in the order of April 11, 2001, that neither would seek interim child support from the other.’
    • ‘Their proposal was embodied in an amendment by Senator Daschle.’
    • ‘The terms of settlement are embodied in a long and complex document which also includes agreement between Citigen and the City on a number of other matters, including a waiver on which Citigen relies in this application.’
    incorporate, include, contain, take in, consolidate, encompass, assimilate, integrate, concentrate
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  • 3archaic Form (people) into a body, especially for military purposes.

    ‘Livius embodied the population of the town’


Mid 16th century: from em- + body, on the pattern of Latin incorporare.