mo·​dem | \ ˈmō-dəm How to pronounce modem (audio) also -ˌdem How to pronounce modem (audio) \
plural modems

Definition of modem

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a device that converts signals produced by one type of device (such as a computer) to a form compatible with another (such as a telephone) and that is used especially to transmit and receive information between computers via landlines


modemed; modeming; modems

Definition of modem (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to send (something, such as data) via a modem

Examples of modem in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The official launch of Intel’s 10th-gen processor comes on the heels of Apple buying up the chip maker’s modem business for $1 billion. Lauren Goode, WIRED, "Intel's New 10-Nanometer Chips Have Finally Arrived," 1 Aug. 2019 By making the iPhone modem more responsive to software and design, and vice versa, Apple will be able to further improve and differentiate its products. NBC News, "Why Tim Cook dropped $1 billion on Intel's modem chips," 26 July 2019 First there was dial-up internet — the modem screech that anyone who went online in the 1990s remembers. Sophia Kunthara,, "Most internet service providers are gone. Sonic has survived — and thrived," 26 July 2019 The modem was slow by today's standards, but the newness of it all was an adrenaline rush. Dries Buytaert For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "The internet has become a dark place. I want the old one back," 19 July 2019 The smartphone-modem chips allow phones to connect to wireless data networks. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "Earnings bonanza; Intel and Apple; New UK prime minister," 23 July 2019 The deal between the two Silicon Valley titans would involve Apple acquiring Intel staff, technology and patents related to the development of smartphone-modem chips. Rex Crum, The Mercury News, "Apple said to be nearing $1 billion deal to buy Intel’s smartphone modem chip business," 23 July 2019 Spectrum doesn't charge a modem fee, and the company also doesn't penalize customers with mandatory contracts and early termination fees. Dallas News, "One year after its merger, AT&T keeps raising its fees, slowly but surely," 5 July 2019 If the bookcase will need to hold practical items such as a modem or seven years of tax records, then cabinets should be part of the design. Lexi Mainland,, "One-Step Makeover: Books, glorious books," 27 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'modem.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of modem


circa 1952, in the meaning defined above


1984, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for modem


modulator + demodulator

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Statistics for modem

Last Updated

11 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for modem

The first known use of modem was circa 1952

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More Definitions for modem



English Language Learners Definition of modem

: a device that changes the form of electric signals so that information can be sent through telephone lines from one computer to another computer


mo·​dem | \ ˈmō-dəm How to pronounce modem (audio) , -ˌdem\

Kids Definition of modem

: a device that changes electrical signals from one form to another and is used especially to send or receive computer data over a telephone line

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More from Merriam-Webster on modem

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with modem

Spanish Central: Translation of modem

Nglish: Translation of modem for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of modem for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about modem

Comments on modem

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


to shake or wave menacingly

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