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

In the foyer, a Chiquita Banana crate from the 1940s is modernized with metal hairpin legs and serves as stylish shoe storage. Metanoya Z. Webb, Essence, "Get An Exclusive Look At What It's Like To Be At Home With BLK MKT Vintage," 8 July 2019 Lucrécia can’t really go home again; the swiftly modernizing city has changed and no longer needs its horses. Carolyn Kellogg,, "Rediscovering Clarice Lispector, the Brazilian author who blurs the lines of dreams," 13 June 2019 The bad publicity embarrassed Sheikh Mohammed and undermined his attempts to promote Dubai as a modernizing country. Ann Mcelhinney And Phelim Mcaleer, WSJ, "Mrs. Robinson and the Missing Princess," 9 Jan. 2019 The idea there was to modernize its economy and liberalize its politics. Eugene Rumer, Time, "How to Reset U.S.-Russian Relations Today," 20 June 2019 But critics note that the water district’s plans to rebuild Anderson Dam to improve its earthquake safety — which also would modernize the spillway and enlarge the outlet pipe, reducing flood risk — are years behind schedule. Paul Rogers, The Mercury News, "San Jose: Victims of 2017 Coyote Creek flood to receive payments," 20 June 2019 And what is now at risk is the continuing [of] that virtuous cycle of modernizing those standards. Benjamin Storrow, Scientific American, "Proposed Energy Efficiency Rules Could Slow Emissions Reductions," 17 June 2019 As of Friday, the backlog was at 21,382 and the projected cost was $3.5 billion, not including the cost of modernizing hundreds of buildings. Steve Lopez,, "This election was a bigger rout than the Measure EE failure; readers vote 9 to 1 against columnist," 12 June 2019 Prince Harry even came out to give a personal update on the couple's new little bundle of joy—a break from tradition that says a lot about how the Sussexes are helping to modernize the monarchy. Glamour, "Meghan Markle Didn't Have A Home Birth Like She Planned for the Royal Baby," 6 May 2019

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

15 Jul 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).


characterized by aphorism

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