I recently stumbled upon the word "revivify". As a verb, it seems to be a synonym for "revive".

Is it? Or are there any differences between the 2 words?

And is it usual to have synonymous words with the same root?

I googled it to find this https://wikidiff.com/revive/revivify but that didn't explain enough. So, I'm asking my first question here.

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    In some role playing games, revive means to restore consciousness and revivify means to bring back to life (from death). In what context was this used? – Davo Apr 17 '19 at 11:17

In contemporary English, the difference between revive and revivify is generally that revivify is unlikely to be used for people or animals. For events, activities, organizations, and so forth, revive and revivify are very close synonyms.

Cambridge Dictionary's definition for revivify:

to give new energy and strength to an event or activity:
A leader with real charisma is needed to revivify the political party. (boldface mine)

Collins Dictionary:

To revivify a situation, event, or activity means to make it more active, lively, or efficient. (boldface mine)

According to the OED, when it first came into English, it could be applied to people or animals. And it is still used for the sense of bringing corpses back to life.

transitive. To reanimate or restore to life. Also: to raise from the dead or from the grave.

1883 H. Drummond Nat. Law in Spiritual World The biologist cannot devitalise a plant or an animal and revivify it again.
1921 Jrnl. Soc. Oriental Res. The kings, the offspring of the gods, were destined to die, to be revivified, and to live in heaven.
2001 M. W. Dickie Magic & Magicians in Greco-Roman World Public displays consist in healing the lame, curing blindness and revivifying corpses.

Except for bringing corpses back to life, none of the OED's citations since 1900 is used for animals or people.

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    You might want to consider changing your assertion on revivify. Revivify means: to give new life, energy, or spirit to something or somebody. – Ubi hatt Apr 17 '19 at 11:56
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    @Ubi hatt: if you want to define revivify so as to encompass all of its uses for the last 300 years, that's certainly a good definition. Cambridge Dictionary and Collins Dictionary seem to leave somebody out of the definition, which agrees with my perception of its use in 21st century English. – Peter Shor Apr 17 '19 at 12:26
  • If you wish, you can add Ngram as well. It shows that, revivify is less commonly used compared to revive. – Ubi hatt Apr 17 '19 at 12:29
  • I can find citations for revivify that do refer to bodies. Smithsonian, May 2015, Vol. 46 Issue 2, p44-5: Nor does he expect to get there preserved in alcohol or a freezer; despite the claims made by advocates of oryonics, he says, the ability to revivify a frozen body " isn't really on the horizon. " – TaliesinMerlin Apr 17 '19 at 13:43
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    @Taliesin: Revivify is indeed also used for bringing dead bodies back to life today, as I mention in my answer. – Peter Shor Apr 17 '19 at 14:53

Sudheeshix welcome to EL&U.

'Revivify', as you stated is indeed a word, similar to revive, but I have never heard it used in speech or the written word.

Revivify: Verb - to give new energy and strength to an event or activity:

"A leader with real charisma is needed to revivify the political party."


Revive: Verb - to come or bring something back to life, health, existence, or use:

"to revive someone's hopes/confidence/fortunes"
"My plants revived as soon as I gave them some water."
"A hot shower and a cup of tea will revive you."
"Traditional skills are being revived."


It appears that to 'revive' is to bring back to life, whereas 'revivify' is to give new energy or strength'.

WikiDiff explains the difference here: https://wikidiff.com/revive/revivify

As verbs the difference between revive and revivify is that revive is to return to life; to recover life or strength; to live anew; to become reanimated or reinvigorated while revivify is to reanimate, bring back to life.

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