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.’
    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.