modulate

verb
mod·​u·​late | \ ˈmä-jə-ˌlāt How to pronounce modulate (audio) \
modulated; modulating

Definition of modulate

transitive verb

1 : to tune to a key or pitch
2 : to adjust to or keep in proper measure or proportion : temper
3 : to vary the amplitude, frequency, or phase of (a carrier wave or a light wave) for the transmission of information (as by radio) also : to vary the velocity of electrons in an electron beam

intransitive verb

1 : to play or sing with modulation
2 : to pass from one musical key into another by means of intermediary chords or notes that have some relation to both keys
3 : to pass gradually from one state to another

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Other Words from modulate

modulator \ ˈmä-​jə-​ˌlā-​tər How to pronounce modulator (audio) \ noun
modulatory \ ˈmä-​jə-​lə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce modulatory (audio) \ adjective

Examples of modulate in a Sentence

Because she doesn't modulate her voice, she sounds the same when she's excited as when she's sad. The music quickly modulates from its original key, changing the mood of the song.

Recent Examples on the Web

Knox says endocannabinoid receptors called CB1 and CB2 work in the lungs to modulate immune responses to inflammation. Mary Emily O'hara, Allure, "Why People With Asthma Can Benefit From Edibles," 20 Apr. 2019 Researchers have also found that, while THC can bind to and activate both types of receptors, CBD seems to modulate and somewhat block the effects of CB1 and CB2 receptors. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "Do Topical CBD Products Actually Do Anything for Pain?," 19 Apr. 2019 His exquisitely modulated, serial views of haystacks, cathedral façades and rows of poplars in changing light, conjured up by stabs and strokes of subtly varied hues, are paradigms of 19th-century modernism. Karen Wilkin, WSJ, "‘Monet: The Late Years’ Review: Radiant Inspiration to the Very End," 2 Apr. 2019 Cladoxylopsids made up our planet's first forests, capturing carbon from the atmosphere and playing a part in modulating Earth's climate. Daisy Yuhas, Scientific American, "Ancient Tree Structure Is Like a Forest unto Itself," 1 Jan. 2018 Unlike Plato, who saw the passions as unruly beasts to be tamed, Aristotle thought that our job was to tune them—that is, to modulate them and deploy them carefully. Julian Baggini, WSJ, "‘Aristotle’s Way’ Review: Philosophize and Flourish," 15 Feb. 2019 Never feeling fear is dangerous, but as this emerging body of research suggests, modulating the action of the amygdala may offer a way to control responses to threats and fearful experiences. Rowan Hooper, WSJ, "The Biology of Bravery—and Fear," 19 Oct. 2018 The dish’s intensity is modulated by chrysanthemum leaves strewn over the top; a puree of red bell pepper and sections of blood orange add a touch of sweetness and acidity. Michael Bauer, San Francisco Chronicle, "Mister Jiu’s fulfills its vision with 3½ stars," 11 Apr. 2018 Aeva uses a different approach, known as frequency modulated continuous wave lidar. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Two Apple veterans built a new lidar sensor—here’s how it works," 2 Oct. 2018

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

1615, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for modulate

Latin modulatus, past participle of modulari to play, sing, from modulus small measure, rhythm, diminutive of modus measure — more at mete

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Statistics for modulate

Last Updated

20 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for modulate

The first known use of modulate was in 1615

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More Definitions for modulate

modulate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of modulate

formal : to change the sound of (your voice) by making it quieter, higher, lower, etc.
music : to move gradually from one key to another
: to change or adjust (something) so that it exists in a balanced or proper amount

modulate

transitive verb
mod·​u·​late | \ ˈmäj-ə-ˌlāt How to pronounce modulate (audio) \
modulated; modulating

Medical Definition of modulate

: to adjust to or keep in proper measure or proportion modulate an immune response modulate cell activity

Other Words from modulate

modulatory \ -​lə-​ˌtōr-​ē, -​ˌtȯr-​ How to pronounce modulatory (audio) \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on modulate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with modulate

Spanish Central: Translation of modulate

Nglish: Translation of modulate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of modulate for Arabic Speakers

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