mod·​ern·​ize | \ ˈmä-dər-ˌnīz \
modernized; modernizing

Definition of modernize

transitive verb

: to make modern (as in taste, style, or usage)

intransitive verb

: to adopt modern ways

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Other Words from modernize

modernizer noun

Synonyms for modernize


contemporize, streamline, update

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Examples of modernize in a Sentence

We're modernizing our kitchen with a new oven, refrigerator, and dishwasher. The country recently announced plans to begin modernizing its army. The school needs a building with modernized classrooms. Older companies will need to modernize quickly if they are to survive in today's economy.
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Recent Examples on the Web

UrbanSense has the potential to further modernize Oak Ridge. Emily Strasser, Curbed, "A secret city opens up," 8 Aug. 2018 The city was among 45 cities and towns awarded a total of $2 million through the state’s Community Compact IT Grant Program, which helps modernize their technology systems and deliver service to residents more efficiently. John Laidler,, "Everett will revamp municipal website," 8 June 2018 Dustin Johnson Founder, Huxton 36 years old Connect: Johnson launched Huxton with the mission to modernize cannabis. Grace Palmieri, azcentral, "Who's Next: 25 self-starters championing Arizona's entrepreneurial spirit," 21 May 2018 Embarrassing as their scandals have been, the royal family’s lapses have mirrored those in greater British society, and some say helped the church leadership to modernize. Karla Adam, Washington Post, "How the Church of England has evolved on divorce, from Henry VIII to Meghan Markle," 15 May 2018 Modern yellow chairs adorned with stripped accent pillows helped modernize the lounge space. Kayla O'brien,, "Bridgewater Middle School teacher's lounge gets surprise makeover," 8 May 2018 In its announcement, Mexico said the agreement would help modernize its existing commercial relationship. Ana Swanson And Milan Schreuer, New York Times, "In Message to Trump, Europe and Mexico Announce Trade Pact," 21 Apr. 2018 That would mean that the #MeToo movement will have helped modernize the NFL. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, "Sunday Punch: How Stephen Curry could change the NFL," 24 Mar. 2018 In recent years, the NYPD has made efforts to modernize. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "New York City cops will fly a drone over the New Year’s Eve celebration at Times Square," 30 Dec. 2018

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

1716, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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Statistics for modernize

Last Updated

11 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for modernize

The first known use of modernize was in 1716

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More Definitions for modernize



English Language Learners Definition of modernize

: to make (something) modern and more suited to present styles or needs
: to become modern : to begin using the newest information, methods, or technology


mod·​ern·​ize | \ ˈmä-dər-ˌnīz \
modernized; modernizing

Kids Definition of modernize

: to make or become new and different or suitable for the present time

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Comments on modernize

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


irregularly rounded

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