modify

verb
mod·​i·​fy | \ˈmä-də-ˌfī \
modified; modifying

Definition of modify 

transitive verb

1 : to make less extreme : moderate traffic rules were modified to let him pass— Van Wyck Brooks

2a : to limit or restrict the meaning of especially in a grammatical construction In the phrase "the red hat," the adjective "red" modifies the noun "hat."

b : to change (a vowel) by umlaut

3a : to make minor changes in had to modify his plan

b : to make basic or fundamental changes in often to give a new orientation to or to serve a new end the wing of a bird is an arm modified for flying

intransitive verb

: to undergo change

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Other Words from modify

modifiability \ˌmä-​də-​ˌfī-​ə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē \ noun
modifiable \ˈmä-​də-​ˌfī-​ə-​bəl \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for modify

change, alter, vary, modify mean to make or become different. change implies making either an essential difference often amounting to a loss of original identity or a substitution of one thing for another. changed the shirt for a larger size alter implies a difference in some particular respect without suggesting loss of identity. slightly altered the original design vary stresses a breaking away from sameness, duplication, or exact repetition. vary your daily routine modify suggests a difference that limits, restricts, or adapts to a new purpose. modified the building for use by the disabled

Examples of modify in a Sentence

We can help you modify an existing home or build a new one. He modified the recipe by using oil instead of butter. She has modified her views on the matter. The design was modified to add another window. We played a modified version of our favorite game. Adjectives usually modify nouns, and adverbs usually modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. In the phrase “a red hat,” the adjective “red” modifies the noun “hat.”
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Recent Examples on the Web

And, even though the twins’ DNA was modified to protect against a deadly disease, such an experiment, experts said, could open the floodgates for others designed for different purposes, such as genetically enhancing future generations. Preetika Rana, WSJ, "Second Woman Implanted With Genetically Modified Embryo, Scientist Says," 28 Nov. 2018 The model, called iLand, is designed to address the changing dynamic of forests, and can be modified for use in different forest types. Kristen Pope, Discover Magazine, "Wildfire Engulfed Yellowstone 30 Years Ago. Its Recovery Could Predict The Future of the West," 12 Nov. 2018 But the state Supreme Court agreed with a challenger that the initiative couldn’t be modified by the Legislature and must be presented to the voters in its original form. Steve Miletich, The Seattle Times, "Initiative 940, modifying law regulating police use of deadly force, passes with strong support," 6 Nov. 2018 Denhollander sued to get the second gag order lifted (a federal judge ruled in her favor and it was modified). Jason Schmidt, Glamour, "The Army of Women Who Took Down Larry Nassar," 30 Oct. 2018 Russia has charged that U.S. missile defense facilities in Romania could be modified to house ground-to-ground intermediate-range cruise missiles. Fox News, "Treaty exits and extensions top Trump adviser's Moscow talks," 23 Oct. 2018 In a strong magnetic field, axions can modify a light field. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Making light twist into a bowtie may reveal dark matter," 12 Nov. 2018 In this classic but controversial choice (for this list anyway), a motley crew slap modified vacuums on their backs and hoover up ghosts around a New York City suddenly plagued by paranormal activity. Joyce Bautista Ferrari, Marie Claire, "The Best Horror Movies That Aren't Too Scary," 29 Oct. 2018 But there is no provision for CenturyLink modifying the name for reasons other than a corporate takeover of its company. Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times, "Analysis: Why CenturyLink Field is unlikely to be renamed for Paul Allen any time soon," 22 Oct. 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for modify

Middle English modifien, from Anglo-French modifier, from Latin modificare to measure, moderate, from modus

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Statistics for modify

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for modify

The first known use of modify was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for modify

modify

verb

English Language Learners Definition of modify

: to change some parts of (something) while not changing other parts

grammar : to limit or describe the meaning of (a word or group of words)

modify

verb
mod·​i·​fy | \ˈmä-də-ˌfī \
modified; modifying

Kids Definition of modify

1 : to make changes in modify a plan

2 : to lower or reduce in amount or scale In a little while familiarity modified their fears …— Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer

3 : to limit in meaning : qualify The word “green” in the phrase “green gloves” modifies the word “gloves.”

mod·​i·​fy | \ˈmäd-ə-ˌfī \
modified; modifying

Medical Definition of modify 

: to make a change in modify behavior by the use of drugs

Other Words from modify

modifiability \ˌmäd-​ə-​ˌfī-​ə-​ˈbil-​ət-​ē \ noun plural -ties
modifiable \-​ˈfī-​ə-​bəl \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on modify

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with modify

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for modify

Spanish Central: Translation of modify

Nglish: Translation of modify for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of modify for Arabic Speakers

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