mod·​ern | \ ˈmä-dərn How to pronounce modern (audio) , nonstandard ˈmä-d(ə-)rən \

Definition of modern

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of, relating to, or characteristic of the present or the immediate past : contemporary the modern American family
b : of, relating to, or characteristic of a period extending from a relevant remote past to the present time modern history
2 : involving recent techniques, methods, or ideas : up-to-date modern methods of communication
3 capitalized : of, relating to, or having the characteristics of the present or most recent period of development of a language Modern English
4 : of or relating to modernism : modernist Modern art has abandoned the representation of recognizable objects.



Definition of modern (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a person of modern times or views
b : an adherent of modernism : modernist
2 : a style of printing type distinguished by regularity of shape, precise curves, straight hairline serifs, and heavy downstrokes

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Other Words from modern


modernly \ ˈmä-​dərn-​lē How to pronounce modernly (audio) \ adverb
modernness \ ˈmä-​dərn-​nəs How to pronounce modernness (audio) \ noun

Examples of modern in a Sentence

Adjective Water pollution is a growing problem in the modern world. He's known as the father of modern medicine. The English that was spoken by William Shakespeare is very different from the modern English spoken today. She is learning Modern Greek. They live in one of the most modern cities in the world. modern methods of communication including e-mail and the Internet She cut her long hair for a modern look. He made his old-fashioned apartment look more modern by changing the color of the walls and buying new furniture. Their latest movie is a modern version of a classic children's story. She has modern ideas about dating and marriage. Noun the leaders of the American suffragists were originally regarded by many people as uppity moderns who should have stayed in their place
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective What's going on is that our caveman brains are unprepared to deal with (modern communication). Lauren Kent, CNN, "The science of gossip (and why everyone does it)," 11 May 2020 But searching for any modern traces would require a visit to the special collections room. Sara Netzley,, "Supergirl recap: The fantabulous emancipation of one Lena Luthor," 11 May 2020 Most graphically-rich modern smartphone games are able to add only a few new items per month. Takashi Mochizuki,, "Profits Are Peaking for the World’s Most Lucrative Mobile Games," 10 May 2020 The modern design includes a cascade of natural light on the first floor, which also features premium oak flooring, a new kitchen with professional-grade appliances and both the master suite and a guest suite. Dallas News, "Firm: Buy Mom her ‘dream home’," 10 May 2020 This modern classic earned Oscar nominations for director Greta Gerwig as well as Saorise Ronan and Laurie Metcalf. Mike Rose, cleveland, "9 movies you can stream with mom on Mother’s Day this year," 10 May 2020 The website brings booking for one of the world’s oldest pastimes into the modern age. Matt Wyatt,, "Website works like Airbnb for bucket-list fishing trips," 9 May 2020 Large homes with increasing maintenance costs are being sold and torn down as new new families seek more modern abodes. Jeff Forward, Houston Chronicle, "Grogan’s Mill, the oldest village in The Woodlands, sees changes ahead as it ages and transforms," 8 May 2020 National Nurses Week began on Wednesday and ends on May 12, the 200th birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. Guy Boulton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Nurses may not see themselves as heroes, but in the midst of a pandemic, many of them are," 8 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The second-most popular style, however, was mid-century modern, which represented the top tag in 16 states, including much of the Midwest and West Coast. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, "The Most Popular Interior Design Styles in Each State, According to Instagram," 20 Apr. 2020 By late 2017, no-makeup makeup became , with fresh modern takes from Victoria Beckham, Alexander Wang, Burberry, Etro and Calvin Klein (it’s still hot for 2020, too, if is an indicator). Jenna Birch, Washington Post, "A ‘no-makeup’ look can take a lot of work — and about $340 worth of makeup," 2 Mar. 2020 The result is a combination of Oregon and Mexico: a classic Pacific Northwest modern that is filled with Mexican art and furniture and designed for a Mexican lifestyle. Nancy Keates, WSJ, "A Portland Contemporary Brings Mexico Home," 5 Feb. 2020 Dancing with Gonzalo Garcia, Ms. Fairchild floated through the classical choreography with the kind of freedom that made her performance modern, a sense of swing within its virtuoso grace. New York Times, "Balanchine Turns 116 This Week. His Ballets Never Get Old.," 23 Jan. 2020 The two differed, the authors say, with moderns having a mild disruption of neural crest activity as compared with the full power of its effects, unencumbered by any disruption, in Neandertals and Denisovans. Emily Willingham, Scientific American, "Missing Link Found for How Modern Humans Evolved Friendly Faces," 4 Dec. 2019 These were the Neanderthals and Denisovans, archaic humans who interbred with those early moderns, leaving bits of their DNA behind today in the genomes of people of non-African descent. Wired, "Clues to Our Unknown Ancestors Are Hiding in Our Genome," 10 Feb. 2019 These were the Neanderthals and Denisovans, archaic humans who interbred with those early moderns, leaving bits of their DNA behind today in the genomes of people of non-African descent. Jordana Cepelewicz, WIRED, "Clues to Our Unknown Ancestors Are Hiding in Our Genome," 10 Feb. 2019 One school of thought holds moderns were able to displace Neandertals by virtue of superior intellect and symbolic capabilities, including language. Kate Wong, Scientific American, "Ancient Cave Paintings Clinch the Case for Neandertal Symbolism," 23 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'modern.' 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 modern


1585, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1585, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for modern

Adjective and Noun

Late Latin modernus, from Latin modo just now, from modus measure — more at mete

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Time Traveler for modern

Time Traveler

The first known use of modern was in 1585

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Statistics for modern

Last Updated

14 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Modern.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for modern


How to pronounce modern (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of modern

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of or relating to the present time or the recent past : happening, existing, or developing at a time near the present time
: of or relating to the current or most recent period of a language
: based on or using the newest information, methods, or technology



English Language Learners Definition of modern (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who has modern ideas, tastes, or attitudes
: a modern artist or writer


mod·​ern | \ ˈmä-dərn How to pronounce modern (audio) \

Kids Definition of modern

1 : of or characteristic of the present time or times not long past modern machinery
2 : of a style or way of thinking that is new and different modern ideas
3 : having a style that is newer and different from older, more traditional styles modern dance
4 : of the period from about 1500 to the present modern history

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More from Merriam-Webster on modern

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for modern

Spanish Central: Translation of modern

Nglish: Translation of modern for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of modern for Arabic Speakers

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