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 Qualcomm says the faster LTE modem should improve services like maps, music streaming, and voice assistants. Julian Chokkattu, Wired, "Qualcomm’s New Smartwatch Chips Promise a Boost for Wear OS," 30 June 2020 The internet user of yore ambled to his parents’ basement and fired up the modem; the modern user can walk down the street with an infinitely more powerful tiny computer in their pocket. Adrian Daub, The New Republic, "The Rise of the Lurker," 13 Apr. 2020 Temporary solution, with some help The Palmers wanted to run wiring for their modem to an office in the middle of the house. Ryan Randazzo, azcentral, "Cox workers won't go in your house to fix internet connections. Get ready to do some handy work if you need help," 17 Apr. 2020 There are also Energy Star laptops, monitors, printers and modem/routers that save energy. oregonlive, "5 tips to improve life during stay-at-home time: Enjoy better sleep, health, homeschooling," 16 Apr. 2020 With Joe Biden perpetually restarting his modem in Delaware, and with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer spending their energy amassing tax breaks for the upper-middle class, Cuomo has been the Democrats’ closest thing to a leader. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Keeping Up With the Cuomos," 4 Apr. 2020 New Hampshire’s election administrators are proudly old school, continuing to use old-fashioned paper ballots and decades-old optical scanners, that, Scanlan said, have had their modems and external ports disabled. Gilad Edelman, Wired, "After the Iowa Caucus Meltdown, New Hampshire Says It’s Ready," 6 Feb. 2020 The deal paves the way for Apple to build its own modems for future iPhones and iPads. Don Reisinger, Fortune, "Apple’s Big Intel Acquisition Won’t Impact iPhones Anytime Soon," 27 July 2019 The system comes with a main base station that connects to your broadband modem (that black box that likely came from your service provider). Joanna Stern, WSJ, "Kill Your Wi-Fi Dead Zones! The Best Mesh Systems for Your Home," 5 Dec. 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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Learn More about modem

Time Traveler for modem

Time Traveler

The first known use of modem was circa 1952

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Statistics for modem

Last Updated

5 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Modem.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for modem


How to pronounce modem (audio) How to pronounce modem (audio)

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

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