mod·​ern·​ize | \ ˈmä-dər-ˌnīz How to pronounce modernize (audio) \
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

Still, von der Leyen, a medical doctor, played a significant role in modernizing the image of her party during the Merkel years. Washington Post, "Von der Leyen: pro-EU fixture in Merkel’s Cabinets," 16 July 2019 Over time, Toys ‘R’ Us investors focused on paying creditors, leaving little money for the company to invest in modernizing its stores or technology. Janelle Nanos,, "How Toys ‘R’ Us became the island of misfit toys," 15 Mar. 2018 While the black-and-red Air Jordan 1s might have been the colorway that started it all, this white-and-blue pair proves that even a classic can be modernized. Tyler Watamanuk, GQ, "The “Game Royal” Air Jordan 1 Remixes an Iconic Sneaker," 13 Mar. 2018 Despite progress in modernizing the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, there has been little or no movement on controversial and politically-charged U.S. proposals that Canada and Mexico say would hurt their economies. Eric Martin,, "Nafta Negotiators Dig In for Long Haul," 24 Feb. 2018 If water systems are not modernized soon, the changing climate will ensure yet more contamination, therefore increasing these disparities. Sarah Jones, New Republic, "Rural America’s Drinking-Water Crisis," 12 Feb. 2018 Here are just a few examples of other works from across the entertainment spectrum where Shakespeare has played a role, or in which one of his works has been modernized and reinvented in an interesting or unusual way. Punch Shaw, star-telegram, "‘Something Rotten,’ which hath lots of laughs, ’tis just one of many nods to Willy Shakes," 12 Jan. 2018 The laundry room, community room and office was also modernized; walkways and entryways were redesigned and improved. Mikaela Porter, Courant Community, "Officials Celebrate Completion Of Renovated, Updated Elm Grove Apartments," 12 Jan. 2018 The kitchen hosting a small gas stove that pipes directly to the outdoors will be modernized for an American food menu that may pay homage to Old Point’s popular chili and nachos. Liz Biro, Indianapolis Star, "Here's what's next for Old Point Tavern on Mass Ave.," 3 Jan. 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

12 Aug 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 How to pronounce modernize (audio) \
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).


not constant or steady

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