modify

verb
mod·​i·​fy | \ ˈmä-də-ˌfī How to pronounce modify (audio) \
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 How to pronounce modifiability (audio) \ noun
modifiable \ ˈmä-​də-​ˌfī-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce modifiable (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for modify

Synonyms

qualify

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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

Find out how the home has been updated and modified. Eric Whitmer, House Beautiful, "What You Should Know Before Buying A Mid-Century Modern Home," 5 Apr. 2019 On Tuesday, the House passed amendments that allocated up to $300 million from credit balances in state highway funds to pay the costs of canceling or modifying the toll-lanes contract. Bruce Henderson, charlotteobserver, "Does Senate vote signal the end to hated I-77 toll lanes? House doesn't agree.," 15 June 2018 Despite government intervention, citizens have taken matters into their own hands, tapping springs and modifying their homes and behavior. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "Drought In Post-Apartheid Cape Town: An Interview with Eve Fairbanks," 12 June 2018 But the group who had heard of #MeToo were less worried, which says to me the movement is helpful in both promoting awareness and modifying behavior. The Editors Of Gq, GQ, "What 1,147 Men Think About #MeToo: A Glamour x GQ Survey," 30 May 2018 At least 100 residents held a rally Wednesday night near the mall to stress that their worries about added traffic, noise and light pollution haven't been mollified after developers modified the preliminary proposal. Grace Schneider, The Courier-Journal, "Topgolf is drawing more opposition from Oxmoor area neighbors," 23 May 2018 In January, the Blue Water Fishermen’s Association started a petition to remove protections for Leatherback sea turtles because the restrictions require them to avoid certain areas and modify their nets to avoid killing the sea turtles. Kristin Hugo, Newsweek, "Snow Crab Fishery Implicated in Whale Deaths, Loses Sustainability Certification," 21 Mar. 2018 Their pelvic fins have been modified into a sucking disk. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "How scientists captured a stunning, hellish menagerie of half-dissolved creatures," 21 Sep. 2018 The climate has also changed and modified the currents and the natural rhythms. Mara Balagtas, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Greatest Things Freediver Fred Buyle Has Seen Underwater," 8 June 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

14 Apr 2019

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 How to pronounce modify (audio) \
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 How to pronounce modify (audio) \
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 How to pronounce modifiability (audio) \ noun, plural -ties
modifiable \ -​ˈfī-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce modifiable (audio) \ 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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