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.

Origin of modern

1490–1500; < Middle French moderne < Late Latin modernus, equivalent to Latin mod(o), mod(ō) lately, just now (orig. ablative singular of modus mode1) + -ernus adj. suffix of time
Related formsmod·ern·ly, adverbmod·ern·ness, nounan·ti·mod·ern, adjective, nounan·ti·mod·ern·ly, adverban·ti·mod·ern·ness, nounhy·per·mod·ern, adjectivenon·mod·ern, adjective, nounnon·mod·ern·ly, adverbnon·mod·ern·ness, nounpre·mod·ern, adjectivepro·mod·ern, adjectivepseu·do·mod·ern, adjectivequa·si-mod·ern, adjectivesu·per·mod·ern, adjectiveun·mod·ern, adjective

Synonyms for modern

1. 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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for modernly

Historical Examples of modernly

  • But the percentage in a modernly equipped filature is very small.

    The Story of Silk

    Sara Ware Bassett

  • But the schools and University of Copenhagen are modernly equipped.

    Through Scandinavia to Moscow

    William Seymour Edwards

  • Palm-oil has brought them luxurious homes, modernly furnished.

    Stanley in Africa

    James P. Boyd

  • Minga's tone somehow had nothing that could be modernly recognized as rudeness.

    Under the Law

    Edwina Stanton Babcock

  • If obligation existed—and it did, in a way—did not this discharge it, subtly and modernly?

    Angela's Business

    Henry Sydnor Harrison

British Dictionary definitions for modernly


  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 strokesCompare old face
Derived Formsmodernly, adverbmodernness, noun

Word Origin for modern

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



c.1500, "now existing;" 1580s, "of or pertaining to present or recent times;" from Middle French moderne (15c.) and directly from Late Latin modernus "modern" (Priscian, Cassiodorus), from Latin modo "just now, in a (certain) manner," from modo (adv.) "to the measure," ablative of modus "manner, measure" (see mode (n.1)). Extended form modern-day attested from 1909.

In Shakespeare, often with a sense of "every-day, ordinary, commonplace." Slang abbreviation mod first attested 1960. Modern art is from 1807 (by contrast to ancient); modern dance first attested 1912; first record of modern jazz is from 1954. Modern conveniences first recorded 1926.



1580s, "person of the present time" (contrasted to ancient, from modern (adj.). From 1897 as "one who is up to date."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper