- to change somewhat the form or qualities of; alter partially; amend: to modify a contract.
- Grammar. (of a word, phrase, or clause) to stand in a syntactically subordinate relation to (another word, phrase, or clause), usually with descriptive, limiting, or particularizing meaning; be a modifier. In a good man, good modifies man.
- to be the modifier or attribute of.
- to change (a vowel) by umlaut.
- to reduce or lessen in degree or extent; moderate; soften: to modify one's demands.
- to be or become modified.
Origin of modify
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. vary, adjust, shape, reform.
5. Modify, qualify, temper suggest altering an original statement, condition, or the like, so as to avoid anything excessive or extreme. To modify is to alter in one or more particulars, generally in the direction of leniency or moderation: to modify demands, rates. To qualify is to restrict or limit by exceptions or conditions: to qualify one's praise, hopes. To temper is to alter the quality of something, generally so as to diminish its force or harshness: to temper one's criticism with humor.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for modify
Like Berners-Lee, Cunningham made his basic software available for anyone to modify and use.You Can Look It Up: The Wikipedia Story
October 19, 2014
McNaughton says Pennsylvania has no plans to modify its existing cocktail.Pennsylvania’s Lethal Injection Fiasco
September 18, 2014
Or, you can modify that rule by observing that each work of art generates its own unique rules….Liberate Poetry! Robert Pinsky’s Manifesto for Readers
August 26, 2013
If Truffaut had lived to see Platoon, the best film of 1986, he might have wanted to modify his opinion.Roger Ebert’s 10 Best Reviews and 10 Best Zingers
April 4, 2013
If the senior rabbis had the will, Michaelson said, they could reinterpret the Torah and modify Halakhic, or religious, law.Gay Orthodox Jews Sue Over Therapy That Claims to ‘Cure’ Them
November 27, 2012
As respects this allocation, how would I modify that instrument?'Tis Sixty Years Since
Charles Francis Adams
We modify it in these degenerate days to "blood will have money:"
The result of this attempt to modify the scheme was the Indian mutiny.The History of the First West India Regiment
A. B. Ellis
It is his to choose his environment; it is his to modify his environment when he cannot leave it.The Meaning of Evolution
Samuel Christian Schmucker
He found cause to modify the excellent impression he had received at first.St. Martin's Summer
- to change the structure, character, intent, etc, of
- to make less extreme or uncompromisingto modify a demand
- grammar (of a word or group of words) to bear the relation of modifier to (another word or group of words)
- linguistics to change (a vowel) by umlaut
- (intr) to be or become modified
C14: from Old French modifier, from Latin modificāre to limit, control, from modus measure + facere to make
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 modify
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper