Can one use the term generify to mean 'to make generic'? E.g. a software programmer being told: 'generify this segment of code'.

If not, what may be a single word replacement of this phrase?

5 Answers 5


Genericise / genericize is the version I most frequently hear. Out of interest, I ran an ngram test, with generify not getting a single hit. Genericize, however, has risen in usage from the '80s.


Generify is certainly the right word to use in the context of Java generics.

This is from the Java Language Specification preface:

Joe Darcy and Ken Russell implemented much of the specific support for reflection of generics. Neal Gafter, Josh Bloch and Mark Reinhold did a huge amount of work generifying the JDK libraries.

In other fields, genericise / genericize would be better recognised, as answered by Mr. Disappointment.


The dictionary doesn't display a result, but does come up with "generification", which I assume is where "generify" comes from.
There's the alternatives of "generalize" or "abstract".

  • Generalize is the term I use when adjusting code to be less specialized and cover additional use cases
    – 111
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 23:06

I think so. It gets used all the time in my workspace workplace.

.:. it is fine to used as words evolve over time.

  • 4
    Until you get to generifyizication - then you should stop.
    – mgb
    Commented Jun 7, 2011 at 16:27
  • 3
    Agreed. We must stopifyizicate all generifyizication!
    – ErikE
    Commented Mar 27, 2012 at 22:56

In mathematics, the usual word used for this context is generalize.

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