realize


realize
realize 1 Realize, actualize, embody, incarnate, materialize, externalize, objectify, hypostatize, reify are the chief words in English meaning to give concrete or objective existence to something that has existed as an abstraction or a conception or a possibility. They are seldom freely interchangeable, because their implications vary widely and their applications are largely determined by idiom.
Realize commonly implies emergence into the sphere of actual things (as of something that has been a dream, an ideal, a hope, or a plan)
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the project was never realized owing to a lack of funds

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he did not realize his ambition until he was past middle life

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The implication of attainment, of achievement, or of fulfillment is at times so strong in realize as to obscure or subordinate this fundamental idea of coming into existence
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to achieve a beautiful relation to another human being is to realize a part of perfection— Binyon

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however evolution ... is effected, a divine purpose is being realized in it— Inge

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Actualize, though sometimes used interchangeably with realize, is found chiefly in philosophical or technical writings with the implication of emergence (as of something that has existed only in potentiality) either into fullness or perfection of existence
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powers of the mind never actualized

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or into act or action
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potential energy becomes kinetic energy when it is actualized by motion

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Embody and incarnate sometimes imply investment with an outward or visible form of something abstract (as a principle, an idea, a trait, or a quality)
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the poet cannot embody his conceptions so vividly and completely as the painter— Binyon

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Dickens incarnated hypocrisy in his Uriah Heep

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Materialize stresses emergence into the sphere of what is perceptible or tangible and usually presupposes prior vagueness, haziness, or elusiveness
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I had the glimmering of an idea, and endeavored to materialize it in words— Hawthorne

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Externalize and objectify emphasize the projection of what is subjective (as a thought, an emotion, or a desire) so that it takes form apart from the mind.
Externalize often suggests a conscious or unconscious urge for expression or relief
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madness has produced . . . valuable art . . .; the artist attempts to rid himself of his abnormality ... by ex-ternalizing it into the work of art— Day Lewis

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Objectify is more likely to suggest a conscious attempt to overcome the limitations of subjectivity and sometimes to contemplate one's own mental processes
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art has always attempted to express, to objectify the dynamic processes of our inner life— Robert Humphrey

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Hypostatize and reify occur chiefly in philosophical and technical writing. They imply conversion by the mind of something that is a concept or abstraction into a thing that has real and objective even if not tangible existence
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our ingrained habit of hypostatizing impressions, of seeing things and not sense-data— Langer

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it is people, real flesh and blood human beings—not a reified entity called "culture"— who do things— L. A. White

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Analogous words: effect, fulfill, execute, accomplish, achieve, *perform
2 *think, conceive, imagine, fancy, envisage, envision
Analogous words: *understand, comprehend, appreciate

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms: