Definition of modern in English:



  • 1Relating to the present or recent times as opposed to the remote past.

    ‘the pace of modern life’
    ‘modern U.S. history’
    • ‘The play takes the audience through a remarkable journey from past to modern South Africa by means of dance and song.’
    • ‘Over the past decades, modern encroachments and thoughtless building have marred the historic fabric of the city.’
    • ‘Suddenly you are aware of all the terrible dangers this modern world presents to the barely-walking.’
    • ‘Before then, I though that our modern society had moved past such things but, sadly, it has not.’
    • ‘He didn't know why, but it seemed like trust was becoming a thing of the past in the modern world of people today.’
    • ‘Far from exclusively singling out the Nazi regime, the modern age is presented as singularly tyrannical and repressive.’
    • ‘Let us turn to the experience of rear services support in military events that took place both in the past and in modern Russia.’
    • ‘A book that's not bad in context that would fall flat presented in modern terms.’
    • ‘It would be unusual for a modern historian simply to present a vignette such as the one above, and to say nothing more.’
    • ‘Two modern women present a spirited interpretation of a Chinese folk tale’
    • ‘The comment remains true of periods of the much more recent past, including Australian social history of the modern period.’
    • ‘A walk down Tokyo's main thoroughfares presents the modern observer with conflicting pictures.’
    • ‘Interestingly the exhibitions link past and present with some modern artefacts and photos on display.’
    • ‘Some are remote from modern civilisation, others survive cheek by jowl with spreading towns and motorways.’
    • ‘In this way, she presents a refreshing alternative to official and political histories of modern India.’
    • ‘All the groupings and distinctions of modern feminism were present then.’
    • ‘He has chosen nine areas of research to present his analysis of modern Japan.’
    • ‘The grey bridges stood silently above the rivers, with the rubbish of modern life floating past occasionally.’
    • ‘This lost generation is perhaps the most unempowered generation in modern Bahamian history.’
    • ‘He draws attention to survivals of shamanistic cults from early modern times to the present.’
    present-day, contemporary, present-time, present, current, twenty-first-century, latter-day, recent, latest
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    1. 1.1Characterized by or using the most up-to-date techniques, ideas, or equipment.
      ‘they do not have modern weapons’
      • ‘It will include a library and staff room and have modern information technology equipment, as well as provision for a wildlife area.’
      • ‘It is humbling to remember that the two lives saved that day weren't due to fancy new techniques or expensive modern technology.’
      • ‘It was an interesting display of modern equipment and technology.’
      • ‘They need a break, which modern technology and management techniques can bring about.’
      • ‘While both guns celebrate the past, each one brings modern techniques and ideas into play.’
      • ‘One is that while modern ideas and technology have helped get us into this mess, we will still need them to get us out.’
      • ‘Be happy to move with the times - be more modern and embrace more modern equipment and technology.’
      • ‘Any form of electoral fraud is a criminal offence so safeguards are needed, and as modern technology progresses, it's now a barcode.’
      • ‘One is the setting up of a nationalised digital library with modern equipment, which could be accessed by people from all walks of life.’
      • ‘With modern technology and equipment, it is hoped that Chinese scientists develop new drugs with patents.’
      • ‘The modern equipment makes it possible to find out the frequency of a word in a database of any large number, say 10 million words.’
      • ‘Give troops the very best training and most modern weapons and equipment.’
      • ‘Rapid advances in modern technology are bringing the physical merger of man and machine closer to reality.’
      • ‘Even with modern technology and equipment, the threat of death is very real.’
      • ‘Without modern technology and test equipment, they came pretty close to the answers that pilots ask every day.’
      • ‘This legislation takes account of modern techniques and advances in technology over the last few years.’
      • ‘I can't imagine for a moment that these sports schools would possess modern technical equipment.’
      • ‘The roof has been repaired and modern kitchen equipment installed.’
      • ‘The small fields we see around us, which tourists come to look at, are not helpful when it comes to modern equipment and cultivation techniques.’
      • ‘The dizzying advances of modern technology have destroyed these assumptions.’
      fashionable, in fashion, in, in style, in vogue, up to date, up to the minute, all the rage, trendsetting, stylish, voguish, modish, chic, smart, the latest, new, newest, newfangled, new-fashioned, fresh, modernistic, advanced, progressive, forward-looking
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    2. 1.2[attributive]Denoting the form of a language that is currently used, as opposed to any earlier form.
      ‘modern German’
      • ‘All of the modern vernaculars spoken in Northern India today are direct descendants of Sanskrit and Prakrit.’
      • ‘Some examples of words which never made it into the modern language.’
      • ‘He was particularly committed to the revitalization of Hebrew as a modern, spoken language.’
      • ‘By merely dubbing it as elitist or foreign we cannot wish away the fact that it is as much a part of our heritage as any other modern Indian language.’
      • ‘It appeared to share some similarities to the modern Tibetan language, but far more complex.’
      • ‘Genuinely upset by the waiter's ignorance of dead languages my teacher grudgingly had to settle for ordering in the modern vernacular.’
      • ‘I find that surprising, because there was an opportunity to completely redraft that part into modern language.’
      • ‘If that's true, the evolution of recursion may have brought modern language into existence.’
      • ‘It was Sir Thomas More who thrust the words Utopia and Utopian into the canon of modern language.’
      • ‘Most writers regretted the decline of modern language.’
      • ‘The event also saw the launch of a new Book of Common Prayer, containing services in traditional and modern language.’
      • ‘The winning language was the langue d' oil spoken by the Francs, which evolved into modern French.’
      • ‘In modern French, the term has come to be used for portable barbed wire entanglements.’
      • ‘Although much of our modern language comes from the language of the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings, very few Christian names do.’
      • ‘Her eyes fell on a passage in standard modern French, in a messy hand, as though it had been written in haste.’
      • ‘In his translations O'Riordain generally avoids words that have passed out of use in the modern language.’
      • ‘Stressing that Samskrit is indeed a modern language, she says the aim of the Samskrita Bharati is to popularise the language.’
      • ‘The Italian was the only modern language which possessed anything that could be called a literature.’
    3. 1.3[attributive]Denoting a current or recent style or trend in art, architecture, or other cultural activity marked by a significant departure from traditional styles and values.
      ‘Matisse's contribution to modern art’
      • ‘The modernist belief that modern art should repudiate the past has been jettisoned.’
      • ‘Manchester is a hotbed of modern architecture and art.’
      • ‘It works well with black-and-white photography and abstract and modern art.’
      • ‘Contemporary sculptors often blend traditional styles with more modern ones.’
      • ‘It was a marriage of innovation and imagination that brought to life a blend of traditional and modern art.’
      • ‘Many churches built today combine traditional and modern architectural styles.’
      • ‘He also has some pen drawings displayed, which are a mix of traditional and modern styles.’
      • ‘Hardly anything in modern art is more familiar than a Modigliani painting.’
      • ‘He called on architects to combine traditional Chinese styles with modern trends.’
      • ‘But none of them as a centre for Indian contemporary art or modern architecture.’
      • ‘Innovation in art is not a new phenomenon - we have seen paintings evolve through the ages from traditional to modern art.’
      • ‘But its range is far wider, and it includes a very significant section devoted to modern and contemporary art.’
      • ‘He worked in a variety of styles, often parodying modes of both traditional and modern painting.’
      • ‘The exhibition of the year brings together major masterpieces by the two giants of modern art, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso.’
      • ‘Before the modern period, the art of the grotesque was often placed in a religious context.’
      • ‘She visited the exhibition daily, and it was there that she gained her first broad introduction to modern art.’
      • ‘Degas was an artist torn between traditional art and the modern impressionist movement.’
      • ‘Traditional and modern art performances are put on during holidays and the Muslim post-fasting festivities.’
      • ‘He was respected as one of the first art historians to apply the apparatus of traditional scholarship to modern art.’
      • ‘The fusion of old-fashioned values and modern architecture?’


  • A person who advocates or practices a departure from traditional styles or values.

    • ‘In contrast to the ancients, the moderns were the foolish lovers of truth and liberty; they believed in the natural rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’
    • ‘Not so with those moderns whose primary scientific values are oriented to the predictable future, and who often relegate the past to, well, simply history.’
    • ‘While we moderns have lost the distinction between the pleasures and the gratifications, the ancient Greeks and the Romans of Hellenistic bent were keen on it.’
    • ‘However, the theory that went with it was rather alien to moderns.’
    • ‘Not surprisingly, many moderns are turned off by this.’
    • ‘In literature, on the other hand, we do read the ancients as well as the moderns, because old works of literature don't become obsolete when new ones are published.’
    • ‘Now we moderns can have the meaning and miss the experience.’
    • ‘It's precisely because the attitudes toward king and empire feel right for 1805 that we feel transported to another reality, admitted to a drama that plays out as if we moderns weren't there.’
    • ‘Like most moderns, I have become largely indifferent to filmic violence.’
    • ‘I'm not one of those paranoid moderns who thinks the world is covered in an invisible miasma of writhing disease; I know it is.’
    • ‘And of course what we have as historian is all this hagiographical stuff that's hard for us as moderns to believe, but something went on.’
    • ‘Do we exist to be a church for moderns or postmoderns or are we willing to accept the compromises that will allow us to be a diverse community of both.’
    • ‘And while the church has made only the barest concessions to modernity, the moderns love the church - at least to gawk at.’
    • ‘The fundamental distinction that pervades and informs all of his work is that between the ancients and the moderns.’
    • ‘We moderns tend to unthinkingly equate the quest for verisimilitude with the quest for historical accuracy, yet here it clearly is intended to serve the heart, and not the head.’
    • ‘Are we moderns so different in this respect from traditional peoples?’
    • ‘For, as I say, we moderns believe in nothing: the nothingness of the will miraculously giving itself form by mastering the nothingness of the world.’
    • ‘That contrast, at least, is not a fault, but an achievement, as profound as any to be heard in later moderns and modernists.’
    • ‘The romantics place former greats at the top, while those with little feel for history or tradition opt for the moderns.’
    • ‘The common bond is in the fact that ancients and moderns have both been miserable about existence, about everything, while mediaevals were happy about that at least.’


Late Middle English: from late Latin modernus, from Latin modo just now.