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See more synonyms for modality on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural mo·dal·i·ties.
  1. the quality or state of being modal.
  2. an attribute or circumstance that denotes mode or manner.
  3. Also called mode. Logic. the classification of propositions according to whether they are contingently true or false, possible, impossible, or necessary.
  4. Medicine/Medical. the application of a therapeutic agent, usually a physical therapeutic agent.
  5. one of the primary forms of sensation, as vision or touch.
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Origin of modality

From the Medieval Latin word modālitās, dating back to 1610–20. See modal, -ity
Related formsmul·ti·mo·dal·i·ty, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for modality

method, process, procedure, manner, style, tone, technique

Examples from the Web for modality

Historical Examples of modality

  • But if modality, taken in itself, be not a reality, why then make of it a category?

    Plotinos: Complete Works, v. 3

    Plotinos (Plotinus)

  • Third rank of existence should not be occupied by modality, vi.

  • Modality, should not occupy even third rank of existence, vi.

  • Rank third, of existence, should not be occupied by modality, vi.

  • Rimbaud, when right, is so because he cannot be bothered to exist in any other modality.


    Ezra Pound

British Dictionary definitions for modality


noun plural -ties
  1. the condition of being modal
  2. a quality, attribute, or circumstance that denotes mode, mood, or manner
  3. logic the property of a statement of being classified under one of the concepts studied by modal logic, esp necessity or possibility
  4. any physical or electrical therapeutic method or agency
  5. any of the five senses
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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 modality


1610s, from Old French modalité or directly from Medieval Latin modalitatem (nominative modalitas) "a being modal," from modalis (see modal). Related: Modalities.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

modality in Medicine


  1. A therapeutic method or agent, such as surgery, chemotherapy, or electrotherapy, that involves the physical treatment of a disorder.
  2. Any of the various types of sensation, such as vision or hearing.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.