mo·​dem | \ ˈmō-dəm also -ˌdem \
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 ruling marks the latest salvo in the increasingly escalating battle between Qualcomm and Apple, launched almost two years ago when Apple first accused Qualcomm of gouging prices for its modem chips. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Apple will pull older iPhones from its German stores after Qualcomm wins partial ban," 20 Dec. 2018 In September, Qualcomm sued Apple, accusing Apple of sharing details about Qualcomm's modem chip designs with Intel. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Qualcomm says a Chinese court has banned sales of older iPhones nationwide," 10 Dec. 2018 Some voting machines are equipped with modems that connect to a telephone line (not the internet) and can be transmitted electronically. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Why it takes so long to get election night results," 6 Nov. 2018 One of those is likely the modem, which feeds into a router that broadcasts the wireless signal. Alexander George, Popular Mechanics, "How to Test Your Wi-Fi Speed," 15 Oct. 2018 Apple completely dropped Qualcomm for its latest iPhones, choosing instead to get modems from Intel. Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge, "Apple targets Qualcomm employees with new job listings," 15 Nov. 2018 The new iPhone XS and XS Max use Intel modem chips. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Apple stole Qualcomm chip secrets and gave them to Intel, Qualcomm claims," 25 Sep. 2018 Reboot the devices that can't get internet, as well as your router and modem if the issue seems a widespread one. David Nield, Popular Mechanics, "What To Do When Your Internet Is Busted," 4 May 2017 With well over 99 percent of our Internet customers using more modern DOCSIS gateways and modems, congestion on individual channels is no longer an issue that needs to be managed. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Comcast disabled throttling system, proving data cap is just a money grab," 13 June 2018

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

29 Dec 2018

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, -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).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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