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 \ -​ˌlā-​tər How to pronounce modulator (audio) \ noun
modulatory \ -​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

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 So much so that in April of 2018, the city instituted an all-out ban on Airbnb rentals in an attempt to modulate apartment rental prices for island habitués. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "Why Winter Is the Most Inspiring Time to Visit Majorca," 25 Dec. 2018 This arm motion is modulated continuously on a millisecond scale by regulating hundreds of small clusters of muscle fibers individually to determine how fast the arm moves and with what force. R. Douglas Fields, Scientific American, "Wristband Lets the Brain Control a Computer with a Thought and a Twitch," 27 Mar. 2018 Although the performance sparked outrage in the Brookhaven community, officials last week modulated their tone, saying Forest Hill’s students shouldn’t be punished for following the direction of their band director. Jeff Amy, The Seattle Times, "Sanctions upheld against band after questionable program," 23 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

25 Mar 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

Comments on modulate

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