[ moj-uh-leyt ]
See synonyms for: modulatemodulated on

verb (used with object),mod·u·lat·ed, mod·u·lat·ing.
  1. to regulate by or adjust to a certain measure or proportion; soften; tone down.

  2. to alter or adapt (the voice) according to the circumstances, one's listener, etc.

  1. Music.

    • to attune to a certain pitch or key.

    • to vary the volume of (tone).

  2. Telecommunications. to cause the amplitude, frequency, phase, or intensity of (a carrier wave) to vary in accordance with a sound wave or other signal, the frequency of the signal wave usually being very much lower than that of the carrier.

verb (used without object),mod·u·lat·ed, mod·u·lat·ing.
  1. Telecommunications.

    • to modulate a carrier wave.

    • Citizens Band Radio Slang. to talk; visit: Enjoyed modulating with you.

  2. Music. to pass from one key to another: to modulate abruptly from A to B flat.

Origin of modulate

1550–60; <Latin modulātus (past participle of modulārī to regulate (sounds), set to music, play an instrument). See module, -ate1

Other words for modulate

Other words from modulate

  • mod·u·la·bil·i·ty [moj-uh-luh-bil-i-tee], /ˌmɒdʒ ə ləˈbɪl ɪ ti/, noun
  • mod·u·la·tive, mod·u·la·to·ry [moj-uh-luh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee], /ˈmɒdʒ ə ləˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/, adjective
  • re·mod·u·late, verb (used with object), re·mod·u·lat·ed, re·mod·u·lat·ing.
  • un·mod·u·lat·ed, adjective
  • un·mod·u·la·tive, adjective
  • well-mod·u·lat·ed, adjective

Words Nearby modulate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use modulate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for modulate


/ (ˈmɒdjʊˌleɪt) /

  1. (tr) to change the tone, pitch, or volume of

  2. (tr) to adjust or regulate the degree of

  1. music

    • to subject to or undergo modulation in music

    • (often foll by to) to make or become in tune (with a pitch, key, etc)

  2. (tr) physics electronics to cause to vary by a process of modulation

Origin of modulate

C16: from Latin modulātus in due measure, melodious, from modulārī to regulate, from modus measure

Derived forms of modulate

  • modulability (ˌmɒdjʊləˈbɪlɪtɪ), noun
  • modulative or modulatory, adjective
  • modulator, 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

Scientific definitions for modulate


[ mŏjə-lāt′ ]

  1. To vary the amplitude, frequency, or some other characteristic of a signal or power source. See also amplitude modulation frequency modulation.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.