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 modern (audio) \ adverb
modernness \ ˈmä-​dərn-​nəs How to pronounce modern (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 The role: Fern, a modern-day Nomad who traverses the American West in her van, often but not exclusively at magic hour. Nate Jones, Vulture, "Who the Heck Is Going to Win Best Actress?," 8 Apr. 2021 The David-like figure who helped his ballclub beat those modern-day Philistines called the New York Yankees in the 1981 World Series. Los Angeles Times, "Column: The Gospel of Fernandomania: Forty years later, Fernando Valenzuela still a Mexican American icon," 7 Apr. 2021 Bleecker and Mott Street — Margaret Sanger Square, in fact — is a modern-day Calvary, a place of injustice, where innocents die and are led to a torture. Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review, "Easter Reminds Us That All Lives Matter," 5 Apr. 2021 For all the human toil and modern equipment, the rescue efforts ultimately relied upon a power beyond their control: the tides. NBC News, "Inside the Ever Given's Suez Canal rescue: How tides, tugboats helped free the big ship," 2 Apr. 2021 The main draw for snowbirds is the year-round sunshine, but modern art and architecture buffs are attracted to the works of the architects who put their mark on the town, like Richard Neutra, Albert Frey, and William Krisel. Krista Simmons, Condé Nast Traveler, "What to Do in Palm Springs, California's Timeless Getaway," 30 Mar. 2021 Inside is one of the finest collections of modern Western art in the world. New York Times, "Hired by the Empress of Art at Tehran’s Hidden Museum," 29 Mar. 2021 Fire Chief Harry Muns, who was appointed in December, said the new station features 10 bunkrooms, ample space to house modern fire equipment, three drive-thru bays, fuel pumps for city vehicles and a traffic light for exiting the facility. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Chula Vista Fire Station 5 has a new home on Orange Avenue," 26 Mar. 2021 What’s the modern-day equivalent of 40 acres and a mule? Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "Evanston’s Reparations Program Is Pioneering, But Limited," 25 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Often confused with mid-century modern, a post-World War II style, contemporary design emerged in the late 20th century. Merlisa Lawrence Corbett,, "How to bring a contemporary style into your home," 15 Mar. 2021 Combining the rustic with the modern was deliberate. Richard A. Marini, San Antonio Express-News, "150-year-old Fredericksburg ranch house transformed into a chic Airbnb by year-long renovation," 25 Mar. 2021 Combining the classic with the modern, the performance also took a minute out for a tap-dance break, with two backing dancers doing jumping splits in a likely homage to The Nicholas Brothers. Andrew Unterberger, Billboard, "Megan Thee Stallion Continues 2021 Grammys Victory Lap With 'Savage' and 'Body' Medley," 14 Mar. 2021 Off-ball linebackers who are 6-4 and 260 pounds are pretty rare in the modern, pass-centric NFL, but Collins has the athleticism and coverage ability to pull it off. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "NFL mock draft 2021: What could unfold if New York Jets acquire Deshaun Watson from Houston Texans," 22 Feb. 2021 If your style leans more boho or mid-century modern, consider this rattan patio furniture. Jayla Andrulonis, Better Homes & Gardens, "The Best Patio Furniture to Upgrade Your Outdoor Space This Summer," 16 Mar. 2021 So, imagine my surprise to discover ONE11 Hotel, an upscale, 83-room boutique accommodation that combines a sense of history with a stylish sense of the modern. Jeanine Barone, Forbes, "The New Orleans French Quarter Has A New Hotel That’s Both Stylish And Historically Significant," 28 Feb. 2021 But Drucker, who is transgender, ultimately saw the value in getting to know Carmichael from a modern and (hopefully) more evolved perspective. Meredith Blake Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Inventor. Criminal. Trans pioneer. A forgotten iconoclast finally gets her due," 14 Feb. 2021 Designer Zoe Feldman took the house from uber traditional to comfortable modern for a young family. Lauren Jones, House Beautiful, "A Traditional Virginia Home Gets a Youthful, Relevant Update," 11 Feb. 2021

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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Learn More about modern

Statistics for modern

Last Updated

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Modern.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
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More Definitions for modern



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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