mo·​der·​ni·​ty | \ mə-ˈdər-nə-tē How to pronounce modernity (audio) , mä-, -ˈder- How to pronounce modernity (audio) \

Definition of modernity

1 : the quality or state of being or appearing to be modern Such details as street lamps, telephone booths, mailboxes and manhole covers have been expensively recreated to recall a past that makes even young Hungarians nostalgic and Western tourists regret the flashy modernity of their cities.— Henry Kamm His early work portrayed the idiosyncratic behavior of his zany upper-class family whose wealth and quest for modernity impelled them to try out all the latest inventions and devices of the time, from electric razors to automobiles to flying machines.— Naomi Rosenblum
2 : the modern era or world and especially the ideas and attitudes associated with the modern world For all his conservatism, Henry Adams's encounter with modernity led neither to romantic antiquarianism … nor to an intensified commitment to those very liberal arts that were under siege in a market society.— Peter N. Miller

First Known Use of modernity

1635, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for modernity

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

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The first known use of modernity was in 1635

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English Language Learners Definition of modernity

formal : the quality of being modern : a modern way of living or thinking

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More from Merriam-Webster on modernity

Spanish Central: Translation of modernity

Nglish: Translation of modernity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of modernity for Arabic Speakers

Comments on modernity

What made you want to look up modernity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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