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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from modernize

modernizer noun

Synonyms for modernize


contemporize, streamline, update

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

These weapons were announced in May 2018 as part of a package to modernize Russian tactical and strategic nuclear forces. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Putin’s New Missiles Are Having Decidedly Mixed Success," 25 Mar. 2019 As Major League Baseball continues to look for ways to modernize the game, there’s one trend that some hitters really hate: the shift. Michael Salfino, WSJ, "The Hitters Hurt Most by the Shift," 22 Mar. 2019 We are disappointed by this outcome and the missed opportunity to modernize copyright for the digital age. Russell Brandom, The Verge, "Wikimedia calls EU copyright directive ‘a missed opportunity’," 12 Sep. 2018 The city has worked for about a decade on a plan to modernize the swimming and diving complex. Brittany Wallman,, "Fort Lauderdale aquatics complex up for $27 million renovation," 10 July 2018 Promoting a more moderate form of Islam is one of the promises made by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman under plans to modernize the deeply conservative Muslim kingdom. Staff, The Christian Science Monitor, "Saudi Arabia to reform education system and fight 'extremist ideologies'," 21 Mar. 2018 Japan is also buying Lockheed Martin’s F-35 in order to modernize its air defenses. Alan Murray, Fortune, "Tariff Time, ECB Rates, Spy Poisoning: CEO Daily for March 8, 2018," 8 Mar. 2018 In all, North Shore Bank has 46 branches in Wisconsin, and there are plans to modernize some other locations as well. Paul Gores, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "North Shore Bank ditches 'fortresses' in favor of small, open-design branches with new technology," 5 Feb. 2018 NextGen, which is a plan to modernize the air transportation system, has been, as a Republican aide described to CNN, costly, delayed, and ill-defined over the years. Daniella Diaz, CNN, "House to vote on FAA reauthorization bill Friday," 27 Apr. 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.

See More

First Known Use of modernize

1716, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about modernize

Statistics for modernize

Last Updated

8 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for modernize

The first known use of modernize was in 1716

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


likely to have or produce good results

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!