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See more synonyms for modify on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), mod·i·fied, mod·i·fy·ing.
  1. to change somewhat the form or qualities of; alter partially; amend: to modify a contract.
  2. 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.
  3. to be the modifier or attribute of.
  4. to change (a vowel) by umlaut.
  5. to reduce or lessen in degree or extent; moderate; soften: to modify one's demands.
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verb (used without object), mod·i·fied, mod·i·fy·ing.
  1. to be or become modified.
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Origin of modify

1350–1400; Middle English modifien < Middle French modifier < Latin modificāre to impose a rule or pattern, regulate, restrain. See mode1, -ify
Related formsmod·i·fi·a·ble, adjectivemod·i·fi·a·bil·i·ty, mod·i·fi·a·ble·ness, nounnon·mod·i·fy·ing, adjectiveo·ver·mod·i·fy, verb, o·ver·mod·i·fied, o·ver·mod·i·fy·ing.pre·mod·i·fy, verb (used with object), pre·mod·i·fied, pre·mod·i·fy·ing.re·mod·i·fy, verb, re·mod·i·fied, re·mod·i·fy·ing.un·mod·i·fi·a·ble, adjectiveun·mod·i·fied, adjective


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Synonym study

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

Related Words


Examples from the Web for modifiable

Historical Examples

  • Nor does Protagoras deny that men are teachable and modifiable.

    Plato and the Other Companions of Sokrates, 3rd ed. Volume III (of 4)

    George Grote

  • They are modifiable merely for the sake of economy or other convenience.

  • "Human nature" is modifiable and economic choice and action are factors in this indivisible process (§§ 2-4).

    Creative Intelligence

    John Dewey, Addison W. Moore, Harold Chapman Brown, George H. Mead, Boyd H. Bode, Henry Waldgrave, Stuart James, Hayden Tufts, Horace M. Kallen

  • It is a statement of the fact that conduct is modifiable and that such modifications may become permanent.

    How to Teach

    George Drayton Strayer and Naomi Norsworthy

  • Means of correcting the modifiable being that we call bad, and encouraging the other that we call good.

British Dictionary definitions for modifiable


verb -fies, -fying or -fied (mainly tr)
  1. to change the structure, character, intent, etc, of
  2. to make less extreme or uncompromisingto modify a demand
  3. grammar (of a word or group of words) to bear the relation of modifier to (another word or group of words)
  4. linguistics to change (a vowel) by umlaut
  5. (intr) to be or become modified
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Derived Formsmodifiable, adjectivemodifiability or modifiableness, noun

Word Origin

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 modifiable



late 14c., from Old French modifier (14c.), from Latin modificare "to limit, measure off, restrain," from modus "measure, manner" (see mode (n.1)) + root of facere "to make" (see factitious). Related: Modified; modifying.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper