the act, art, or profession of a person who models.
the process of producing sculptured form with some plastic material, as clay.
the technique of rendering the illusion of volume on a two-dimensional surface by shading.
the treatment of volume, as the turning of a form, in sculpture.
the representation, often mathematical, of a process, concept, or operation of a system, often implemented by a computer program.
Also called imitation. Psychology. therapy in which a particular behavior is elicited by the observation of similar behavior in others.

Also especially British, mod·el·ling.

Origin of modeling

First recorded in 1575–85; model + -ing1




a standard or example for imitation or comparison.
a representation, generally in miniature, to show the construction or appearance of something.
an image in clay, wax, or the like, to be reproduced in more durable material.
a person or thing that serves as a subject for an artist, sculptor, writer, etc.
a person whose profession is posing for artists or photographers.
a person employed to wear clothing or pose with a product for purposes of display and advertising.
a style or design of a particular product: His car is last year's model.
a pattern or mode of structure or formation.
a typical form or style.
a simplified representation of a system or phenomenon, as in the sciences or economics, with any hypotheses required to describe the system or explain the phenomenon, often mathematically.
Zoology. an animal that is mimicked in form or color by another.


serving as an example or model: a model home open to prospective buyers.
worthy to serve as a model; exemplary: a model student.
being a small or miniature version of something: He enjoyed building model ships.

verb (used with object), mod·eled, mod·el·ing or (especially British) mod·elled, mod·el·ling.

to form or plan according to a model.
to give shape or form to; fashion.
to make a miniature model of.
to fashion in clay, wax, or the like.
to simulate (a process, concept, or the operation of a system), commonly with the aid of a computer.
to display to other persons or to prospective customers, especially by wearing: to model dresses.
to use or include as an element in a larger construct: to model new data into the forecast.

verb (used without object), mod·eled, mod·el·ing or (especially British) mod·elled, mod·el·ling.

to make models.
to produce designs in some plastic material.
to assume a typical or natural appearance, as the parts of a drawing in progress.
to serve or be employed as a model.

Origin of model

1565–75; earlier modell < Middle French modelle < Italian modello < Vulgar Latin *modellus, equivalent to Latin mod(ulus) (see module) + -ellus -elle
Related formsmod·el·er; especially British, mod·el·ler, nounpre·mod·el, verb (used without object), pre·mod·eled, pre·mod·el·ing or (especially British) pre·mod·elled, pre·mod·el·ling.un·mod·eled, adjectiveun·mod·elled, adjective

Synonyms for model

Synonym study

1. See ideal. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for modeling

Contemporary Examples of modeling

Historical Examples of modeling

  • I thickened to the consistency of modeling clay with plaster of paris.


    Leon Luther Pray

  • The modeling room's open, and you can always see the antique.

    Miss Pat at School

    Pemberton Ginther

  • I've tried so hard to get on with the modeling—for I do love it—but it just seems as though I couldn't.

    Miss Pat at School

    Pemberton Ginther

  • The modeling room has remained in charge of Mr. Cosmos Mindeleff.

  • She seemed so troubled about the modeling—bless her dear heart!

    That Girl Montana

    Marah Ellis Ryan

British Dictionary definitions for modeling



  1. a representation, usually on a smaller scale, of a device, structure, etc
  2. (as modifier)a model train
  1. a standard to be imitatedshe was my model for good scholarship
  2. (as modifier)a model wife
a representative form, style, or pattern
a person who poses for a sculptor, painter, or photographer
a person who wears clothes to display them to prospective buyers; mannequin
a preparatory sculpture in clay, wax, etc, from which the finished work is copied
a design or style, esp one of a series of designs of a particular productlast year's model
  1. an original unique article of clothing
  2. (as modifier)a model coat
a simplified representation or description of a system or complex entity, esp one designed to facilitate calculations and predictions
  1. an interpretation of a formal system under which the theorems derivable in that system are mapped onto truths
  2. a theory in which a given sentence is true

verb -els, -elling or -elled or US -els, -eling or -eled

to make a model of (something or someone)
to form in clay, wax, etc; mould
to display (clothing and accessories) as a mannequin
to plan or create according to a model or models
to arrange studio lighting so that highlights and shadows emphasize the desired features of a human form or an inanimate object
Derived Formsmodeller or US modeler, noun

Word Origin for model

C16: from Old French modelle, from Italian modello, from Latin modulus, diminutive of modus mode
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 modeling

also modelling, 1650s, "action of bringing into desired condition," verbal noun from model (v.). Meaning "action of making models" (in clay, wax, etc.) is from 1799. Meaning "work of a fashion model" is from 1941.



1570s, "likeness made to scale; architect's set of designs," from Middle French modelle (16c., Modern French modèle), from Italian modello "a model, mold," from Vulgar Latin *modellus, from Latin modulus "a small measure, standard," diminutive of modus "manner, measure" (see mode (n.1)).

Sense of "thing or person to be imitated" is 1630s. Meaning "motor vehicle of a particular design" is from 1900 (e.g. Model T, 1908; Ford's other early models included C, F, and B). Sense of "artist's model" is first recorded 1690s; that of "fashion model" is from 1904. German, Swedish modell, Dutch, Danish model are from French or Italian.



1660s, "fashion in clay or wax," from model (n.). Earlier was modelize (c.1600). From 1915 in the sense "to act as a fashion model, to display (clothes)." Related: Modeled; modeling; modelled; modelling.



1844, from model (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for modeling




The acquisition of a new skill by observing and imitating that behavior being performed by another individual.
In behavior modification, a treatment procedure in which the therapist models the target behavior which the learner is to imitate.
A continuous process by which a bone is altered in size and shape during its growth by resorption and formation of bone at different sites and rates.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for modeling



A systematic description of an object or phenomenon that shares important characteristics with the object or phenomenon. Scientific models can be material, visual, mathematical, or computational and are often used in the construction of scientific theories. See also hypothesis theory.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.