Definition of modulate
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
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
modulatorplay \-ˌlā-tər\ noun
modulatoryplay \-lə-ˌtōr-ē, -ˌtȯr-\ 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 of modulate from the Web
But at the same time, our counter-extremism policy has to be very carefully modulated.
The automatic models get Toyota’s Crawl Control system, designed to modulate the throttle and brakes on five low-speed settings automatically.
Nerve cells have tiny pores in their cell membranes that regulate the flow of sodium ions into the cell, which in turn modulates the firing of the cell.
Modulating the frequency of vibrations, for example, can lend distinct textures to our smartphones’ featureless glass screens.
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.
Origin and Etymology of modulate
Latin modulatus, past participle of modulari to play, sing, from modulus small measure, rhythm, diminutive of modus measure — more at mete
First Known Use: 1615
MODULATE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of modulate for English Language Learners
: 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
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