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[mohd] /moʊd/
a manner of acting or doing; method; way:
modern modes of transportation.
a particular type or form of something:
Heat is a mode of motion.
a designated condition or status, as for performing a task or responding to a problem:
a machine in the automatic mode.
  1. appearance, form, or disposition taken by a thing, or by one of its essential properties or attributes.
  2. (in the philosophy of Spinoza) one of the nonessential qualifications of God, contingent upon other modes.
    Compare attribute (def 9).
  1. modality (def 3).
  2. mood2 (def 2).
Music. any of various arrangements of the diatonic tones of an octave, differing from one another in the order of the whole steps and half steps; scale.
Grammar. mood2 (def 1).
Statistics. the value of the variate at which a relative or absolute maximum occurs in the frequency distribution of the variate.
Petrography. the actual mineral composition of a rock, expressed in percentages by weight.
Physics. any of the distinct patterns of oscillation that a given periodically varying system can have.
Origin of mode1
1250-1300; Middle English mod(e) (< Old French) < Latin modus measured amount, limit, manner, kind, tone
Can be confused
mode, module.
mode, mood.
1. See method.


[mohd] /moʊd/
fashion or style in manners, dress, etc.:
He was much concerned to keep up with the latest mode.
a light gray or drab color.
1635-45; < French < Latin modus; see mode1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for mode
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There had been observed something peculiar in his mode of manipulation.

    The Ocean Waifs Mayne Reid
  • There were folkways in stage coach times, which were fitted to that mode of travel.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • I may as well describe the mode of finding the honey the bee-hunters adopt.

    Adventures in Australia W.H.G. Kingston
  • In fact they represent the current mode of reasoning of nature people.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • All human activity is, in a certain sense, a mode of self-expression.

    The Spirit of America Henry Van Dyke
British Dictionary definitions for mode


a manner or way of doing, acting, or existing
the current fashion or style
  1. any of the various scales of notes within one octave, esp any of the twelve natural diatonic scales taken in ascending order used in plainsong, folk song, and art music until 1600
  2. (in the music of classical Greece) any of the descending diatonic scales from which the liturgical modes evolved
  3. either of the two main scale systems in music since 1600: major mode, minor mode
(logic, linguistics) another name for modality (sense 3), mood2 (sense 2)
(philosophy) a complex combination of ideas the realization of which is not determined by the component ideas
that one of a range of values that has the highest frequency as determined statistically Compare mean3 (sense 4), median (sense 6)
the quantitative mineral composition of an igneous rock
(physics) one of the possible configurations of a travelling or stationary wave
(physics) one of the fundamental vibrations
Word Origin
C14: from Latin modus measure, manner
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for mode

"manner," late 14c., "kind of musical scale," from Latin modus "measure, extent, quantity; proper measure, rhythm, song; a way, manner, fashion, style" (in Late Latin also "mood" in grammar and logic), from PIE root *med- "to measure, limit, consider, advise, take appropriate measures" (see medical). Meaning "manner in which a thing is done" first recorded 1660s.

"current fashion," 1640s, from French mode "manner, fashion, style" (15c.), from Latin modus "manner" (see mode (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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mode in Medicine

mode (mōd)

  1. The value or item occurring most frequently in a series of observations or statistical data.

  2. The number or range of numbers in a mathematical set that occurs the most frequently.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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mode in Science
The value that occurs most frequently in a data set. For example, in the set 125, 140, 172, 164, 140, 110, the mode is 140. Compare arithmetic mean, average, median.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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mode in Culture

mode definition

In statistics, the most frequently appearing value in a set of numbers or data points. In the numbers 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 4, 9, 6, 8, and 6, the mode is 6, because it appears more often than any of the other figures. (See average; compare mean and median.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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mode in Technology

An object-oriented language.
["The Programming Language Mode: Language Definition and User Guide", J. Vihavainen, C-1987-50, U Helsinki, 1987].
[Jargon File]

1. A general state, usually used with an adjective describing the state. Use of the word "mode" rather than "state" implies that the state is extended over time, and probably also that some activity characteristic of that state is being carried out. "No time to hack; I'm in thesis mode."
In its jargon sense, "mode" is most often attributed to people, though it is sometimes applied to programs and inanimate objects. In particular, see hack mode, day mode, night mode, demo mode, fireworks mode, and yoyo mode; also chat.
2. More technically, a mode is a special state that certain user interfaces must pass into in order to perform certain functions. For example, in order to insert characters into a document in the Unix editor "vi", one must type the "i" key, which invokes the "Insert" command. The effect of this command is to put vi into "insert mode", in which typing the "i" key has a quite different effect (to wit, it inserts an "i" into the document). One must then hit another special key, "ESC", in order to leave "insert mode". Nowadays, modeful interfaces are generally considered losing but survive in quite a few widely used tools built in less enlightened times.
[Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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