mod·​ern | \ ˈmä-dərn How to pronounce modern (audio) , nonstandard ˈmä-d(ə-)rən \

Definition of modern

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of, relating to, or characteristic of the present or the immediate past : contemporary the modern American family
b : of, relating to, or characteristic of a period extending from a relevant remote past to the present time modern history
2 : involving recent techniques, methods, or ideas : up-to-date modern methods of communication
3 capitalized : of, relating to, or having the characteristics of the present or most recent period of development of a language Modern English
4 : of or relating to modernism : modernist Modern art has abandoned the representation of recognizable objects.



Definition of modern (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a person of modern times or views
b : an adherent of modernism : modernist
2 : a style of printing type distinguished by regularity of shape, precise curves, straight hairline serifs, and heavy downstrokes

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from modern


modernly \ ˈmä-​dərn-​lē How to pronounce modern (audio) \ adverb
modernness \ ˈmä-​dərn-​nəs How to pronounce modern (audio) \ noun

Examples of modern in a Sentence

Adjective Water pollution is a growing problem in the modern world. He's known as the father of modern medicine. The English that was spoken by William Shakespeare is very different from the modern English spoken today. She is learning Modern Greek. They live in one of the most modern cities in the world. modern methods of communication including e-mail and the Internet She cut her long hair for a modern look. He made his old-fashioned apartment look more modern by changing the color of the walls and buying new furniture. Their latest movie is a modern version of a classic children's story. She has modern ideas about dating and marriage. Noun the leaders of the American suffragists were originally regarded by many people as uppity moderns who should have stayed in their place
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Tebow is the only quarterback in the modern history of the NFL who compiled a winning record and won a playoff game in his only year as a starter and never again started another game. Mike Bianchi,, "Jaguars should have signed Tim Tebow a decade ago, but not NOW!!! | Commentary," 1 May 2021 Few people in the modern history of Los Angeles were as instrumental in molding the region’s cultural and civic life as Mr. Broad. New York Times, "Eli Broad, Who Helped Reshape Los Angeles, Dies at 87," 30 Apr. 2021 Cycles of public engagement and withdrawals into underground activity have repeated throughout the modern history of white supremacy. Marc Fisher, Washington Post, "From memes to race war: How extremists use popular culture to lure recruits," 30 Apr. 2021 Cycles of public engagement and withdrawals into underground activity have repeated throughout the modern history of white supremacy. Marc Fisher, Anchorage Daily News, "From memes to race war: How extremists use popular culture to lure recruits," 30 Apr. 2021 Exxon reported its first annual loss in modern history in 2020 of about $22 billion. Christopher M. Matthews, WSJ, "Big Oil Companies Recover as Prices Rebound," 30 Apr. 2021 The White House, in its nomination announcements, claimed that Biden had been the fastest to nominate judges of any president in modern history. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, "Biden rolls out second batch of judicial nominees as Democrats push for diversity," 29 Apr. 2021 Talla began perhaps the shortest brainstorming session in modern horse-naming history. Bryce Miller Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Grape-growing Del Mar board member Kosta Hronis relishes Kentucky Derby contender," 29 Apr. 2021 President Joe Biden's address to a joint session of Congress was unlike any in modern history due to the COVID-19 pandemic. USA Today, "Why President Joe Biden's speech to Congress was unlike any other in modern history," 29 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And in the back there was a hall where a dancing teacher called Hazel Johnson used to teach tap dancing and modern. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, "Catherine Zeta-Jones Is Enjoying Herself," 11 Apr. 2021 As a city hurtling toward the future, Doha has perfected the art of combining the modern and the historic. Travel + Leisure Staff, Travel + Leisure, "It List 2020: Our Editors’ Picks of the Best New Hotels in the World," 19 Feb. 2020 Often confused with mid-century modern, a post-World War II style, contemporary design emerged in the late 20th century. Merlisa Lawrence Corbett,, "How to bring a contemporary style into your home," 15 Mar. 2021 Combining the rustic with the modern was deliberate. Richard A. Marini, San Antonio Express-News, "150-year-old Fredericksburg ranch house transformed into a chic Airbnb by year-long renovation," 25 Mar. 2021 Combining the classic with the modern, the performance also took a minute out for a tap-dance break, with two backing dancers doing jumping splits in a likely homage to The Nicholas Brothers. Andrew Unterberger, Billboard, "Megan Thee Stallion Continues 2021 Grammys Victory Lap With 'Savage' and 'Body' Medley," 14 Mar. 2021 Off-ball linebackers who are 6-4 and 260 pounds are pretty rare in the modern, pass-centric NFL, but Collins has the athleticism and coverage ability to pull it off. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "NFL mock draft 2021: What could unfold if New York Jets acquire Deshaun Watson from Houston Texans," 22 Feb. 2021 If your style leans more boho or mid-century modern, consider this rattan patio furniture. Jayla Andrulonis, Better Homes & Gardens, "The Best Patio Furniture to Upgrade Your Outdoor Space This Summer," 16 Mar. 2021 So, imagine my surprise to discover ONE11 Hotel, an upscale, 83-room boutique accommodation that combines a sense of history with a stylish sense of the modern. Jeanine Barone, Forbes, "The New Orleans French Quarter Has A New Hotel That’s Both Stylish And Historically Significant," 28 Feb. 2021

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


1585, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1585, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for modern

Adjective and Noun

Late Latin modernus, from Latin modo just now, from modus measure — more at mete

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about modern

Statistics for modern

Last Updated

5 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Modern.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for modern



English Language Learners Definition of modern

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of or relating to the present time or the recent past : happening, existing, or developing at a time near the present time
: of or relating to the current or most recent period of a language
: based on or using the newest information, methods, or technology



English Language Learners Definition of modern (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who has modern ideas, tastes, or attitudes
: a modern artist or writer


mod·​ern | \ ˈmä-dərn How to pronounce modern (audio) \

Kids Definition of modern

1 : of or characteristic of the present time or times not long past modern machinery
2 : of a style or way of thinking that is new and different modern ideas
3 : having a style that is newer and different from older, more traditional styles modern dance
4 : of the period from about 1500 to the present modern history

Comments on modern

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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