[ mod-uh-fahy ]
See synonyms for: modifymodifiedmodifyingmodifiable on

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.

  1. to be the modifier or attribute of.

  2. to change (a vowel) by umlaut.

  3. to reduce or lessen in degree or extent; moderate; soften: to modify one's demands.

verb (used without object),mod·i·fied, mod·i·fy·ing.
  1. to be or become modified.

Origin of modify

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English modifien, from Middle French modifier, from Latin modificāre “to impose a rule or pattern, regulate, restrain”; equivalent to mode1 + -ify

synonym study For modify

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.

Other words for modify

Other words from modify

  • mod·i·fi·a·ble, adjective
  • mod·i·fi·a·bil·i·ty, mod·i·fi·a·ble·ness, noun
  • non·mod·i·fy·ing, adjective
  • o·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, adjective
  • un·mod·i·fied, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use modify in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for modify


/ (ˈmɒdɪˌfaɪ) /

verb-fies, -fying or -fied (mainly tr)
  1. to change the structure, character, intent, etc, of

  2. to make less extreme or uncompromising: to modify a demand

  1. grammar (of a word or group of words) to bear the relation of modifier to (another word or group of words)

  2. linguistics to change (a vowel) by umlaut

  3. (intr) to be or become modified

Origin of modify

C14: from Old French modifier, from Latin modificāre to limit, control, from modus measure + facere to make

Derived forms of modify

  • modifiable, adjective
  • modifiability or modifiableness, noun

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