modify

verb

mod·​i·​fy ˈmä-də-ˌfī How to pronounce modify (audio)
modified; modifying

transitive verb

1
: to make less extreme : moderate
traffic rules were modified to let him passVan Wyck Brooks
2
a
: 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
3
a
: 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
modifiable 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.”
Recent Examples on the Web Investigator Attestation: Auto-generation for all summaries requires investigators to review, modify, and attest to their responsibility for the finalization of the summary and conclusion to ensure responsible AI utilization. Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 12 June 2024 Police said the young suspect, who shot himself in the leg during the incident, was armed with a pistol illegally modified with a switch. Bill Hutchinson, ABC News, 12 June 2024 The Common Council, with a two-thirds majority, can suspend or modify those policies. Elliot Hughes, Journal Sentinel, 11 June 2024 Treatment often revolves around managing the symptoms of the disorder and learning coping skills as well as how to deal with triggers and modify behavior. Ashley Mateo, Health, 8 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for modify 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'modify.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near modify

Cite this Entry

“Modify.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/modify. Accessed 20 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

modify

verb
mod·​i·​fy ˈmäd-ə-ˌfī How to pronounce modify (audio)
modified; modifying
1
: to make changes in : alter
modify a plan
2
: to lower or reduce in amount or degree : moderate
3
: to limit in meaning : qualify
in the phrase "green gloves," "green" modifies "gloves"
modifiable adjective

Medical Definition

modify

transitive verb
mod·​i·​fy ˈmäd-ə-ˌfī How to pronounce modify (audio)
modified; modifying
: to make a change in
modify behavior by the use of drugs
modifiability noun
plural modifiabilities
modifiable adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on modify

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