Definition of modify in English:



  • 1 Make partial or minor changes to (something)

    ‘she may be prepared to modify her views’
    • ‘In addition, I would like to be able to add, view and modify appointments using my web browser.’
    • ‘They're actually modified versions of proteins used in the digestive system.’
    • ‘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!’
    • ‘Recognize the times when you become stressed - prepare yourself and modify your behavior to avoid the situation if possible.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Enormous subsequent engineering projects have modified the river still further, depriving it of huge wetland areas.’
    • ‘The company is interested in sustainable production and, like the other manufacturers mentioned below, is happy to modify furniture to fit the space.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In fact, I don't think he made a single correct statement, only asking questions and modifying the answers to fit.’
    • ‘Doing that easily is mandatory, along with viewing and modifying information, data mining, ad-hoc querying, and other data manipulations.’
    • ‘He said you should modify your diet to fit in with the types of fruit, vegetables and herbs that you could easily grow.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I modify small details to fit the purposes of my story.’
    • ‘Rather than modifying their ideas to fit their shapeless world, they try and modify the world to fit their precisely-shaped ideas.’
    • ‘To lead, you have to discuss and be prepared to modify your position.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They're modified only slightly to fit in with the journal entry format.’
    • ‘Brokers in each office could view and modify the sheets at the same time.’
    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
    moderate, revise, temper, soften, tone down, blunt, dull, qualify, restrict, limit, lessen, reduce, decrease, diminish, lower, abate, mitigate
    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’
      • ‘A number of flowering plants have flowers which are structurally modified for bird pollination.’
      • ‘However, there are a huge number of ways in which this basic pattern has been modified through evolution.’
      • ‘Some blocks are there to modify the metabolism of molecules and others modify the overall structure to improve drug delivery.’
      • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The semantic distinction between restrictive and non-restrictive modification applies to adjectives that modify nouns as well as to relative clauses.’
      • ‘Or the other word could be an adjective modifying the noun, as in underage drinker.’
      • ‘Since miss is a noun in this phrase, it should be modified by an adjective, not an adverb.’
    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).