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verb (used with object), mod·ern·ized, mod·ern·iz·ing.
  1. to make modern; give a new or modern character or appearance to: to modernize one's ideas; to modernize a kitchen.
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verb (used without object), mod·ern·ized, mod·ern·iz·ing.
  1. to become modern; adopt modern ways, views, etc.
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Also especially British, mod·ern·ise.

Origin of modernize

First recorded in 1740–50; modern(ism) + -ize
Related formsmod·ern·i·za·tion, nounmod·ern·iz·er, nounan·ti·mod·ern·i·za·tion, adjectiveo·ver·mod·ern·i·za·tion, nouno·ver·mod·ern·ize, verb, o·ver·mod·ern·ized, o·ver·mod·ern·iz·ing.re·mod·ern·i·za·tion, nounre·mod·ern·ize, verb, re·mod·ern·ized, re·mod·ern·iz·ing.un·mod·ern·ized, adjective


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1. renovate, refurbish, update.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for modernise

Historical Examples

  • Hence his attempt to modernise Chaucer and improve on Shakespeare.

    Why we should read

    S. P. B. Mais

  • Why, if they were bent on modernising, did they not modernise the shields?

  • Here the late poets have their innings at last, and do modernise the Homeric house.

  • I still say so; and he who attempts to mend it, or modernise the form, says so too.

  • No attempt has been made to alter spellings, or to modernise punctuation or grammar.

British Dictionary definitions for modernise



  1. (tr) to make modern in appearance or styleto modernize a room
  2. (intr) to adopt modern ways, ideas, etc
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Derived Formsmodernization or modernisation, nounmodernizer or moderniser, noun
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

Word Origin and History for modernise



1748, from modern + -ize, or from French moderniser. Related: Modernized; modernizing; modernizer.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper