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verb mod·i·fy \ˈmä-də-ˌfī\

Simple Definition of modify

  • : to change some parts of (something) while not changing other parts

  • grammar : to limit or describe the meaning of (a word or group of words)

Full Definition of modify


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to make less extreme :  moderate

  3. 2 a :  to limit or restrict the meaning of especially in a grammatical construction b :  to change (a vowel) by umlaut

  4. 3 a :  to make minor changes in b :  to make basic or fundamental changes in often to give a new orientation to or to serve a new end <the wing of a bird is an arm modified for flying>

  5. intransitive verb
  6. :  to undergo change

mod·i·fi·abil·i·ty play \ˌmä-də-ˌfī-ə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
mod·i·fi·able play \ˈmä-də-ˌfī-ə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of modify

  1. We can help you modify an existing home or build a new one.

  2. He modified the recipe by using oil instead of butter.

  3. She has modified her views on the matter.

  4. The design was modified to add another window.

  5. We played a modified version of our favorite game.

  6. Adjectives usually modify nouns, and adverbs usually modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.

  7. In the phrase a red hat, the adjective red modifies the noun hat.

Origin of modify

Middle English modifien, from Anglo-French modifier, from Latin modificare to measure, moderate, from modus

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of modify

change, alter, vary, modify mean to make or become different. change implies making either an essential difference often amounting to a loss of original identity or a substitution of one thing for another <changed the shirt for a larger size>. alter implies a difference in some particular respect without suggesting loss of identity <slightly altered the original design>. vary stresses a breaking away from sameness, duplication, or exact repetition <vary your daily routine>. modify suggests a difference that limits, restricts, or adapts to a new purpose <modified the building for use by the disabled>.

Rhymes with modify

abide by, Adonai, alibi, alkali, amplify, apple-pie, argufy, assegai, azo dye, basify, beautify, butterfly, by-and-by, caddis fly, calcify, certify, Chou En-lai, citify, clarify, classify, coalify, cockneyfy, codify, college try, cottage pie, crucify, cut-and-try, cutie-pie, DIY, damnify, damselfly, dandify, deify, densify, dignify, dobsonfly, do-or-die, dragonfly, dulcify, eagle eye, edify, evil eye, falsify, fancify, fortify, frenchify, fructify, gasify, Gemini, gentrify, glorify, goggle-eye, goldeneye, gratify, Haggai, harvest fly, hexerei, high and dry, hip and thigh, Hokusai, hook and eye, horrify, hoverfly, humble pie, Iceni, justify, kiss good-bye, lazy eye, lignify, liquefy, lithify, Lorelei, lullaby, Madurai, magnify, Malachi, Maracay, minify, mollify, Molokai, Mordecai, mortify, multi-ply, multiply, mummify, mystify, nazify, notify, nullify, occupy, old school tie, on standby, on the fly, ossify, overbuy, overfly, overlie, pacify, Paraguay, passerby, peccavi, petrify, PPI, preachify, prettify, private eye, prophesy, purify, putrefy, qualify, quantify, ramify, rarefy, ratify, RBI, rectify, reify, res gestae, robber fly, runner's high, Russify, samurai, sanctify, satisfy, scarify, schwarmerei, semidry, set store by, shepherd's pie, shoofly pie, signify, simplify, Spanish fly, specify, speechify, stratify, stultify, stupefy, sweetie pie, Tenebrae, terrify, testify, tie-and-dye, tigereye, Trans Alai, tumble dry, typify, uglify, underlie, unify, Uruguay, Veneti, verify, versify, vilify, vinify, vitrify, vivify, weather eye, Windsor tie, xanthene dye, yuppify, zombify

Medical Dictionary


transitive verb mod·i·fy \ˈmäd-ə-ˌfī\

Medical Definition of modify


  1. :  to make a change in <modify behavior by the use of drugs>

  2. mod·i·fi·abil·i·ty \ˌmäd-ə-ˌfī-ə-ˈbil-ət-ē\play noun, plural mod·i·fi·abil·i·ties
    mod·i·fi·able \-ˈfī-ə-bəl\play adjective

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up modify? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 10, 2016

to put in good humor

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