modulate

verb

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

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
modulator noun
modulatory 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 By changing the levels of these hormones in the brain and the body, hormonal contraceptives may modulate mood – for better or for worse. Natalie C. Tronson, The Conversation, 24 June 2024 Both have effective one-pedal driving settings that are easy to modulate in sporty driving. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, 3 July 2024 At other times, Trump modulated his stance on core policy issues. Eric Cortellessa, TIME, 28 June 2024 The ceiling over the great room was inspired by the ocean waves breaking and features a large skylight with wooden slats for modulating light in lieu of more traditional shades or films. Emma Reynolds, Robb Report, 27 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for modulate 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'modulate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of modulate was in 1615

Dictionary Entries Near modulate

Cite this Entry

“Modulate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/modulate. Accessed 25 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

modulate

verb
mod·​u·​late ˈmäj-ə-ˌlāt How to pronounce modulate (audio)
modulated; modulating
1
: to tune to a key or pitch
2
: to adjust or regulate to the proper proportion
especially : to tone down : soften
modulated his voice
3
: to vary a quality (as frequency or amplitude) of an electromagnetic wave for the transmission of information (as by radio)
modulator noun
modulatory
-lə-ˌtōr-ē How to pronounce modulate (audio)
-ˌtȯr-
adjective

Medical Definition

modulate

transitive verb
mod·​u·​late ˈmäj-ə-ˌlāt How to pronounce modulate (audio)
modulated; modulating
: to adjust to or keep in proper measure or proportion
modulate an immune response
modulate cell activity
modulatory adjective
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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