1 of 2

noun (1)

: an arrangement of the eight diatonic notes or tones of an octave according to one of several fixed schemes of their intervals (see interval sense 2)
: a rhythmical (see rhythm sense 2) scheme (as in 13th and 14th century music)
: mood entry 2 sense 2
the indicative mode
the subjunctive mode
[Late Latin modus, from Latin]
: the modal (see modality sense 2) form of the assertion or denial of a logical proposition
: a particular form or variety of something
flying and other modes of transport
new modes of communication
: a form or manner of expression : style
a different mode of living
: a possible, customary, or preferred way of doing something
explained in the usual solemn mode
Let's get into work mode.
new modes of experimentation had to be developedJ. B. Conant
: a manifestation (see manifestation sense 1), form, or arrangement of being
specifically : a particular form or manifestation of an underlying substance
: a particular functioning arrangement or condition : status
a computer operating in parallel mode
sleep mode
a device that changes display colors in night mode to help reduce eyestrain
: the most frequent value of a set of data
: a value of a random variable for which a function of probabilities (see probability sense 1) defined on it achieves a relative maximum
: any of various stationary vibration patterns of which an elastic body or oscillatory system is capable
the vibration mode of an airplane propeller blade
the vibrational modes of a molecule


2 of 2

noun (2)

: a prevailing fashion or style (as of dress or behavior)
the newest mode in dresses
Choose the Right Synonym for mode

Noun (1)

method, mode, manner, way, fashion, system mean the means taken or procedure followed in achieving an end.

method implies an orderly logical arrangement usually in steps.

effective teaching methods

mode implies an order or course followed by custom, tradition, or personal preference.

the preferred mode of transportation

manner is close to mode but may imply a procedure or method that is individual or distinctive.

an odd manner of conducting

way is very general and may be used for any of the preceding words.

has her own way of doing things

fashion may suggest a peculiar or characteristic way of doing something.

rushing about in his typical fashion

system suggests a fully developed or carefully formulated method often emphasizing rational orderliness.

a filing system

Noun (2)

fashion, style, mode, vogue, fad, rage, craze mean the usage accepted by those who want to be up-to-date.

fashion is the most general term and applies to any way of dressing, behaving, writing, or performing that is favored at any one time or place.

the current fashion

style often implies a distinctive fashion adopted by people of taste.

a media baron used to traveling in style

mode suggests the fashion of the moment among those anxious to appear elegant and sophisticated.

slim bodies are the mode at this resort

vogue stresses the wide acceptance of a fashion.

short skirts are back in vogue

fad suggests caprice in taking up or in dropping a fashion.

last year's fad is over

rage and craze stress intense enthusiasm in adopting a fad.

Cajun food was the rage nearly everywhere for a time
crossword puzzles once seemed just a passing craze but have lasted

Examples of mode in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
The 1960s are known as a pivotal era in American film, when the safe cinematic language of the 1950s gave way to edgy new modes of expression, informed by European art films, cinema verité documentaries and the political ructions that roiled the second half of the decade. Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, 21 Nov. 2023 Back in mom mode, Teigen’s also posted some recent family snaps to Instagram over the weekend. Escher Walcott, Peoplemag, 21 Nov. 2023 Roberta’s wild, self-destructive expressionism feels like new ground for her, and the change in mode and class sometimes fits her awkwardly. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, 20 Nov. 2023 The inflatable Luci light is frosted and has 10 LEDs and a color cycle mode. Scott Gilbertson, WIRED, 20 Nov. 2023 Acupuncture Tips Acupuncture is not a singular medical practice but part of a larger mode of treatment, Robert Cowan, MD, a clinical professor of neurology and neurological sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine, told Health. Colleen Stinchcombe, Health, 19 Nov. 2023 And this conversation, for an organization simultaneously operating four different hospitals on five campuses plus dozens of outpatient facilities, must happen at a moment when the normal electronic modes of communication have been shut down. Paul Sisson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 18 Nov. 2023 However like Ulysses, every song is written in a stream-of-consciousness mode. Evan Minsker, Pitchfork, 17 Nov. 2023 The coffee machine features six brewing modes, including a quick mode that makes a full pot in under seven minutes and an ice mode that’s specially designed for cold coffee drinks. Nor'adila Hepburn, Better Homes & Gardens, 16 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mode.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun (1)

Middle English moede, from Latin modus measure, manner, musical mode — more at mete

Noun (2)

French, from Latin modus

First Known Use

Noun (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Noun (2)

1642, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of mode was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near mode

Cite this Entry

“Mode.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: a form or manner of expression or acting : way
a mode of travel
: a particular operating arrangement or condition
: the most frequent value of a set of values (as data)


2 of 2 noun
: a popular fashion or style

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