- of or relating to mode, manner, or form.
- pertaining to mode, as distinguished from key.
- based on a scale other than major or minor.
- Also single modal. Transportation. pertaining to or suitable for transportation involving only one form of a carrier, as truck, rail, or ship.Compare bimodal(def 3), intermodal.
- Grammar. noting or pertaining to mood.
- Philosophy. pertaining to a mode of a thing, as distinguished from one of its basic attributes or from its substance or matter.
- Logic. exhibiting or expressing some phase of modality.
Origin of modal
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- of, relating to, or characteristic of mode or manner
- grammar (of a verb form or auxiliary verb) expressing a distinction of mood, such as that between possibility and actuality. The modal auxiliaries in English include can, could, may, must, need, ought, shall, should, will, and would
- philosophy logic
- qualifying or expressing a qualification of the truth of some statement, for example, as necessary or contingent
- relating to analogous qualifications such as that of rules as obligatory or permissive
- metaphysics of or relating to the form of a thing as opposed to its attributes, substance, etc
- music of or relating to a mode
- of or relating to a statistical 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
1560s, term in logic, from Middle French modal and directly from Medieval Latin modalis "of or pertaining to a mode," from Latin modus "measure, manner, mode" (see mode (n.1)). Musical sense is from 1590s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper