Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



Latin profundus (profound) +‎ -ify. Post-19th-century uses popularized by American humorist James Boren (1925–2010).


  • IPA(key): /pɹəˈfʌndɪfaɪ/
  • Hyphenation: pro‧fund‧ify


profundify (third-person singular simple present profundifies, present participle profundifying, simple past and past participle profundified)

  1. (in post-19th-century uses, often humorous) To make profound; to make a concept unnecessarily complicated.
    • 1821 May 1, “Hildebrand Snapdragon”, “Manchester versus 'Manchester Poetry'”, in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine[1], volume IX, Edinburgh; London: William Blackwood; T[homas] Cadell and W. Davies, OCLC 631932349, page 198, col. 1:
      But where's the use of invoking the Muses, when they are provoked by droppings of inspiration from a stone, in which the measure and the meaning are most happily profundified?
    • 1976, James H. Boren, The Bureaucratic Zoo: The Search for the Ultimate Mumble, McLean, Va.: EPM Publications, →ISBN, page 4:
      To profundify or to profundicate: A Borenverb used to denote the use of thesauric and other enrichment techniques to make a simple idea appear to be profound. [] Graduates of agricultural institutions tend to use "to profundicate" while graduates of ivy league schools tend to use "to profundify".
    • 1977, Midstream, volume XXIII, New York, N.Y.: Theodor Herzl Foundation, ISSN 0026-332X, page 85:
      [] Deutscher's technique throughout his verbose trilogy is to go back and forth in time to profundify a given phenomenon.
    • 1979, The Proceedings – Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Annual Convention, Philadelphia, Penn.: Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, ISSN 0736-7201, page 69:
      You should learn to profundify and to profundicate. Those are Boren verbs; they're not in the dictionary yet, but we're working on it and we think we're going to make it. They're being used in Washington now and Time Magazine, the Wall Street Journal; and a few others have picked it up.
    • 1981, “Correction, please!”, in The Review of the News, volume 17, Belmont, Mass.: Review of the News, Inc., ISSN 0034-6802, page 55:
      Said he: “She will never reach the optimum of her new pursuits unless she learns to profundify the justifications of her options.”
    • 1995 September 15, The Times-Picayune (New Orleans), page E1:
      Profundify or profundicate the speech. Use Roget's Thesaurus to make simple ideas seem profound.
    • 1999, James H. Boren, How to be a Sincere Phoney: A Handbook for Politicians and Bureaucrats, McLean, Va.: EPM Publications, →ISBN, page 73:
      Profundified words and phrases may dance around an issue without disturbing the neutral thought patterns of bureaucrats, politicians or members of boards of directors.