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

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··mod·i·fy, verb, re·mod·i·fied, re·mod·i·fy·ing.un·mod·i·fi·a·ble, adjectiveun·mod·i·fied, adjective

Synonyms for modify

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

Examples from the Web for modifies

Contemporary Examples of modifies

Historical Examples of modifies

British Dictionary definitions for modifies


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
Derived Formsmodifiable, adjectivemodifiability or modifiableness, noun

Word Origin for modify

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 modifies



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper