Part of speech:
It's both intransitive ("something ramifies")
and transitive ("something ramifies something else.")
When something ramifies, it grows outward in branches, or it divides into sub-parts.
More loosely, when something ramifies, it's becoming more complex, or it's developing complicated effects.
ramified, ramifying, ramification(s)
How to use it:
Although you can certainly talk about concrete objects that ramify, like plants, veins, sidewalks and so on, we're more interested in the abstract meaning.
Talk about something ramifying from, to, in, into, across, beyond, through, orthroughout something, or for a period of time: "These rule changes are ramifying throughout the students, faculty, and staff." "The discovery will ramify for centuries." Something can also just ramify out or ramify outward.
Also, you can simply say something ramifies: "This speech will undoubtedly ramify."
And--stick with me-- you can say something ramifies something else, though that usage seems rare: "Widely diverse accomplishments have ramified his prestige."
You can use "ramified" or "ramifying" like adjectives: "the ramified system," "this ramifying news."
Lastly, "ramification" is a great synonym for "consequence" when you want to emphasize how far-reaching and divisive an effect really is: "Sure, you can say anything you want in a society with free speech, but after doing so, you're not protected from the ramifications." ("Ramification" can also just mean a branch or the process of ramifying.)
When a new idea starts to ramify in my mind, I like to take notes on the computer, which is a lot faster than writing by hand.
In history classes we're made to study all the Supreme Court rulings with major ramifications for society, but it's not often that we get to witness one as it happens.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "ramify" means when you can explain it without saying “branch" or "complicate."
Think of something complicated that used to be simple, and fill in the blanks: "Over time, it seems __(topic)___ has/have ramified into __(complex parts)___."
Example: "Over time, as our baby has grown older, it seems that getting ready to leave the house has ramified into a whole checklist of tasks to be done and items to be packed."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
Our game for July is called A Verbal Tour of the US. I’ll ask you a trivia question each day this month about the names of US cities, states, geographic features, etc. Try it out each day, and see the right answer the next day. Happy verbal trails to you!
This state’s official motto is a cool Greek word that you shout when you’ve found something. Which is appropriate, considering the state’s prosperous and, you might say, golden history. What’s the state, and what’s the motto?
Answer: In California, “Eureka!” must have been shouted in joy during the gold rush.
Try this one today:
Despite being British, Elton John has often sung about places in the US. Which places do these lyrics describe?
1. “'Western skies' don't make it right
'Home of the brave' don't make no sense
I've seen a scarecrow wrapped in wire
Left to die on a high ridge fence
It's a cold, cold wind
It's a cold, cold wind
It's a cold wind blowing, _____”
2. “Ghosts of the old South are all around me
Yea swing high, yea swing low
Here on this porch swing in _____”
3. “Gone to _____ for the Union
Shoulder to shoulder, side by side
Gone to _____, hope springs eternal
When flags and bullets start to fly”
4. “_____ at last, and the plane touches down
The hostess is handing the hot towels around.”
A Point Well Made:
Adam Phillips and Barbara Taylor: "Kindness’s original meaning of kinship or sameness has stretched over time to encompass sentiments that today go by a wide variety of names – sympathy, generosity, altruism, benevolence, humanity, compassion, pity, empathy..."
1. One opposite of RAMIFY is
2. A single _____ can quickly ramify throughout the youth of the nation and beyond.
A. thoughtless tweet
B. algebraic equation
C. locker combination
Answers are below.
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Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Answers to review questions:
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