Definition of modify in English:



  • 1 Make partial or minor changes to (something):

    ‘she may be prepared to modify her views’
    • ‘He claims it is not possible to have a public open space because the developer is not prepared to modify its planning application to incorporate a green area.’
    • ‘Brokers in each office could view and modify the sheets at the same time.’
    • ‘A simple search facility was incorporated within the web interface to enable users, according to their user privileges, to identify patients and to view and modify their records.’
    • ‘With this tool, you can see what other changes happened at the same time and even what line of code was modified in which version.’
    • ‘In fact, I don't think he made a single correct statement, only asking questions and modifying the answers to fit.’
    • ‘The company is interested in sustainable production and, like the other manufacturers mentioned below, is happy to modify furniture to fit the space.’
    • ‘I modify small details to fit the purposes of my story.’
    • ‘Enormous subsequent engineering projects have modified the river still further, depriving it of huge wetland areas.’
    • ‘Doing that easily is mandatory, along with viewing and modifying information, data mining, ad-hoc querying, and other data manipulations.’
    • ‘The trials in June will be to find out if it works and modifying it with a view to having a serious roll out next year.’
    • ‘Rather than modifying their ideas to fit their shapeless world, they try and modify the world to fit their precisely-shaped ideas.’
    • ‘He said you should modify your diet to fit in with the types of fruit, vegetables and herbs that you could easily grow.’
    • ‘They're actually modified versions of proteins used in the digestive system.’
    • ‘Despite this, and despite my complete lack of any experience at all with Perl, I decided that a good thing to do would be to modify them for version 4.’
    • ‘In the course of the final two days of debate, the government and the Labor Party used their numbers to defeat a series of amendments from the minor parties to modify the call-out power.’
    • ‘In addition, I would like to be able to add, view and modify appointments using my web browser.’
    • ‘Recognize the times when you become stressed - prepare yourself and modify your behavior to avoid the situation if possible.’
    • ‘To lead, you have to discuss and be prepared to modify your position.’
    • ‘They're modified only slightly to fit in with the journal entry format.’
    • ‘It would be appropriate too if the powers that be had another look at the existing monetary penalties with a view to modifying them - upwards!’
    moderate, revise, temper, soften, tone down, blunt, dull, qualify, restrict, limit, lessen, reduce, decrease, diminish, lower, abate, mitigate
    alter, make alterations to, change, adjust, make adjustments to, adapt, amend, improve, revise, recast, reform, reshape, refashion, redesign, restyle, revamp, rework, remake, remodel, remould, redo, reconstruct, reorganize, refine, reorient, reorientate, vary, transform, convert
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Biology Transform (a structure) from its original anatomical form during development or evolution:
      ‘the traps of insectivorous plants are modified leaves’
      • ‘Some blocks are there to modify the metabolism of molecules and others modify the overall structure to improve drug delivery.’
      • ‘A number of flowering plants have flowers which are structurally modified for bird pollination.’
      • ‘They are able to mentally recreate visual experience, allowing them to transform and modify the arrangement of items.’
      • ‘Everything about the human body is either a retention of these basic characteristics, or else has been modified by evolution.’
      • ‘However, there are a huge number of ways in which this basic pattern has been modified through evolution.’
    2. 1.2Grammar (especially of an adjective) restrict or add to the sense of (a noun):
      ‘the target noun is modified by a ‘direction’ word’
      • ‘Or the other word could be an adjective modifying the noun, as in underage drinker.’
      • ‘The semantic distinction between restrictive and non-restrictive modification applies to adjectives that modify nouns as well as to relative clauses.’
      • ‘Since miss is a noun in this phrase, it should be modified by an adjective, not an adverb.’
      • ‘An attributive adjective modifies an ungrounded noun, thereby contributing to the specification of the type designated by the noun.’
      • ‘When an adjective modifies a noun (usually appearing right before it), it is known as an attributive adjective.’
    3. 1.3Phonetics Pronounce (a speech sound) differently from the norm for that sound.


Late Middle English: from Old French modifier, from Latin modificare, from modus (see mode).