mod·​i·​fi·​er | \ˈmä-də-ˌfī(-ə)r \

Definition of modifier 

1 : one that modifies

2 : a word or phrase that makes specific the meaning of another word or phrase

3 : a gene that modifies the effect of another

Examples of modifier in a Sentence

In “a red hat,” the adjective “red” is a modifier describing the noun “hat.” In “They were talking loudly,” the adverb “loudly” is a modifier of the verb “talking.”

Recent Examples on the Web

But following his leap Saturday into third place on IndyCar’s all-time wins list (43) — a runaway on the oval at Texas Motor Speedway — the modifiers are beginning to feel insufficient. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: No superlatives necessary. For Scott Dixon, greatness implicit," 10 June 2018 For instance, a writer couldn't go all Samantha Bee or use a curse word as a modifier. Jeff Wilson, star-telegram, "Rangers Reaction: Time to call Beltre 'Slash.' It's better than 'Mr. DL'," 1 June 2018 Those include the installation of friction modifiers on the track surface and additional ballast material beneath the rails, according to CSX. Washington Post, "As CSX tunnel project wraps up, concerns rise over train speeds and vibration," 26 May 2018 Surbaugh predicted that both boys and girls in Scouts BSA would refer to themselves simply as scouts, rather than adding ‘‘boy’’ or ‘‘girl’’ as a modifier. David Crary,, "With girls joining the ranks, Boy Scouts planning a name change," 2 May 2018 But the lazy remedy, merely to move a modifier one word left or right, is worse. The Economist, "The ban on split infinitives is an idea whose time never came," 26 Apr. 2018 The classic drink has quite a few sweet modifiers (like orange curaçao and pomegranate) and the heavier alcohol, at 45 percent, helps cut through that sweetness. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "The Best Cuban Rum Brands to Buy Today," 15 Apr. 2017 And yes, that's the we-can-print-that-name-in-a-family newspaper name, although fans know the tune as sporting a bit more colorful modifier in both the title and lyrics. Michael Heaton,, "'Ready Player One' another triumph for Steven Spielberg (review)," 29 Mar. 2018 With dozens of brands of almost every spirit now available, not to mention the flood of vermouths and other modifiers, there’s a lot of pressure to pick the right one. Anne Brockhoff, kansascity, "Simple and delicious cocktails you can make at home | The Kansas City Star," 20 Feb. 2018

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

1583, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for modifier

The first known use of modifier was in 1583

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English Language Learners Definition of modifier

grammar : a word (such as an adjective or adverb) or phrase that describes another word or group of words


mod·​i·​fi·​er | \ˈmä-də-ˌfī-ər \

Kids Definition of modifier

: a word (as an adjective or adverb) used with another word to limit its meaning In the phrase “very big dog” the words “very” and “big” are modifiers.


mod·​i·​fi·​er | \ˈmäd-ə-ˌfī(-ə)r \

Medical Definition of modifier 

1 : one that modifies

2 : a gene that modifies the effect of another

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More from Merriam-Webster on modifier

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with modifier

Spanish Central: Translation of modifier

Nglish: Translation of modifier for Spanish Speakers

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