View synonyms for modern


[ mod-ern ]


  1. of or relating to present and recent time; not ancient or remote:

    modern city life.

  2. characteristic of present and recent time; contemporary; not antiquated or obsolete:

    modern viewpoints.

  3. of or relating to the historical period following the Middle Ages:

    modern European history.

  4. of, relating to, or characteristic of contemporary styles of art, literature, music, etc., that reject traditionally accepted or sanctioned forms and emphasize individual experimentation and sensibility.
  5. (initial capital letter) new ( def 12 ).
  6. Typography. noting or descriptive of a font of numerals in which the body aligns on the baseline, as 1234567890. Compare old style ( def 3 ).


  1. a person of modern times.
  2. a person whose views and tastes are modern.
  3. Printing. a type style differentiated from old style by heavy vertical strokes and straight serifs.


/ ˈmɒdən /


  1. of, involving, or befitting the present or a recent time; contemporary
  2. of, relating to, or characteristic of contemporary styles or schools of art, literature, music, etc, esp those of an experimental kind
  3. belonging or relating to the period in history from the end of the Middle Ages to the present


  1. a contemporary person
  2. printing a type style that originated around the beginning of the 19th century, characterized chiefly by marked contrast between thick and thin strokes Compare old face

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Derived Forms

  • ˈmodernness, noun
  • ˈmodernly, adverb

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Other Words From

  • modern·ly adverb
  • modern·ness noun
  • anti·modern adjective noun
  • anti·modern·ly adverb
  • anti·modern·ness noun
  • hyper·modern adjective
  • non·modern adjective noun
  • non·modern·ly adverb
  • non·modern·ness noun
  • pre·modern adjective
  • pro·modern adjective
  • pseudo·modern adjective
  • quasi-modern adjective
  • super·modern adjective
  • un·modern adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of modern1

First recorded in 1490–1500; from Middle French moderne, from Late Latin modernus, equivalent to Latin mod(o), mod(ō), “lately, just now” (originally ablative singular of modus mode 1 ) + -ernus, adjective suffix of time

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Word History and Origins

Origin of modern1

C16: from Old French, from Late Latin modernus, from modō (adv) just recently, from modus mode

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Synonym Study

Modern, recent, late apply to that which is near to or characteristic of the present as contrasted with any other time. Modern is applied to those things that exist in the present age, especially in contrast to those of a former age or an age long past; hence the word sometimes has the connotation of up-to-date and, thus, good: modern ideas. That which is recent is separated from the present or the time of action by only a short interval; it is new, fresh, and novel: recent developments. Late may mean nearest to the present moment: the late reports on the battle.

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Example Sentences

To modern workers everywhere,To modern workers everywhere,First came email.

From Quartz

In other words, Brady’s career is hiding not one but two of the top 20 quarterbacks in modern history inside of it!

While Zeta is entering the market as a tool for couples, Shekar sees the startup’s moonshot as being the go-to operational account for any modern household.

It’s a timely notion as the modern world reckons with who gets to tell the stories of its diverse populations.

Meanwhile, Deuteronilus Mensae is home to modern-day glaciers, and exists between cratered highlands to the south and low plains to the north.

We see detoxing as a path to transcendence, a symbol of modern urban virtue and self-transformation through abstinence.

The number of dissenters though is unprecedented in the modern era.

“I got the weaver to use his craftsmanship on modern silhouettes we designed,” he said.

The End of Gangs By Sam Quinones, Pacific-Standard Los Angeles gave America the modern street gang.

I like to think of Shooters as Sodom and Gomorrah, reimagined for the modern world.

The east window in this church has been classed as the A1 of modern painted windows.

The pipe has a modern look and is altogether unlike those found by the English in use among the Indians in Virginia.

But don't go hunting after them, there are still modern Immortals in the darkness of a forgotten language.

She has embodied in her work a modern comprehension of old legends.

And this college course I have sketched should, in the modern state, pass insensibly into adult mental activities.


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More About Modern

What does modern mean?

Modern means relating to the present time, as in modern life. It also means up-to-date and not old, as in modern technology.

Apart from these general senses, modern is often used in a more specific way to refer to the current historical period. Even more specifically, it refers to a style or movement in the arts developed during the 1900s and characterized by innovation and experimentation that broke from past traditions. Such art is often described as belonging to the movement of modernism (which is sometimes capitalized).

Modern can sometimes be used as a noun referring to a person in modern times, as in The worldviews of ancients and moderns are very different, but this is uncommon.

Example: Many people are overwhelmed by the fast pace of the modern workplace.

Where does modern come from?

In history, though, the modern era is the period from the end of the Middle Ages to the present. In that sense, modern is technically a modern word—the first records of it come from the late 1400s. It comes from the Latin modernus, from modō, meaning “just recently.”

Most of the time, modern simply refers to something related to the present or recent past, as opposed to the past or the distant past. In this sense, it is especially used in phrases like modern life and modern times. Our modern life involves modern technology and modern conveniences—meaning the latest stuff.

In its more specific use to refer to things involved with the modernist art movement, modern can be applied to works in many different art forms, including painting, literature, architecture, and others. The collections of modern art museums often feature items from the late 1800s and later. When art is described as postmodern, it doesn’t mean it’s somehow from the future. It means it belongs to a movement or style characterized by a rejection of modernism, not modernness or modernity.

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What are some other forms related to modern?

What are some synonyms for modern?

What are some words that share a root or word element with modern



What are some words that often get used in discussing modern?


How is modern used in real life?

Modern is commonly used to describe current or contemporary things—the things we interact with in the present. Its meaning in reference to art is more specifically related to the modernist movement.



Try using modern!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of modern?

A. current
B. outdated
C. newfangled
D. contemporary




moderatormodern apprenticeship