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

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 Some residents were furious the system malfunctioned, which the mayor attributed to an overheated modem. Christine Dempsey,, "Hartford PD: Six Days After Boy's Drowning, Man Falsely Reports Another," 10 July 2018 In some places, the phone service wasn’t good enough to transmit by modem. Steve Lohr, New York Times, "Now He Pulls Data Off the Web. In 1979, It Was Clips From the ‘Morgue.’," 27 June 2018 The company is asking the ITC to ban the import of infringing iPhones that use cellular modem chips from Intel. Mike Freeman,, "Testimony begins in Qualcomm's bid to ban imports of some iPhones," 18 June 2018 Tech supply chains are so intertwined these days that just about every product that ZTE makes has some American components or software in it — think microchips, modems and Google’s Android operating system. Kevin Granville, New York Times, "What Is ZTE? A Chinese Geopolitical Pawn That Trump Wants to Rescue.," 7 June 2018 Windows has had integrated support for cell modems since Windows 8, but this has been restricted to supporting data connections. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Surface Phone speculation spurred by new phone APIs in Windows," 23 Apr. 2018 Kelly went home, cranked up his modem, and subscribed. Nancy Baym, WIRED, "Book Excerpt: How Music Fans Built the Internet," 10 July 2018 That Audi has chosen to use cellular modems and not Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) radio to implement V2I should serve as yet another wake-up call to advocates for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and V2I systems. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "The traffic signals in Washington, DC, can now talk to your car—if it’s an Audi," 14 Mar. 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

20 Oct 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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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).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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