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modify

[mod-uh-fahy] /ˈmɒd əˌfaɪ/
verb (used with object), modified, modifying.
1.
to change somewhat the form or qualities of; alter partially; amend:
to modify a contract.
2.
Grammar. (of a word, phrase, or clause) to stand in a syntactically subordinate relation to (another word, phrase, or clause), usually with descriptive, limiting, or particularizing meaning; be a modifier. In a good man, good modifies man.
3.
to be the modifier or attribute of.
4.
to change (a vowel) by umlaut.
5.
to reduce or lessen in degree or extent; moderate; soften:
to modify one's demands.
verb (used without object), modified, modifying.
6.
to be or become modified.
Origin of modify
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English modifien < Middle French modifier < Latin modificāre to impose a rule or pattern, regulate, restrain. See mode1, -ify
Related forms
modifiable, adjective
modifiability, modifiableness, noun
nonmodifying, adjective
overmodify, verb, overmodified, overmodifying.
premodify, verb (used with object), premodified, premodifying.
remodify, verb, remodified, remodifying.
unmodifiable, adjective
unmodified, adjective
Synonyms
1. vary, adjust, shape, reform. 5. Modify, qualify, temper suggest altering an original statement, condition, or the like, so as to avoid anything excessive or extreme. To modify is to alter in one or more particulars, generally in the direction of leniency or moderation: to modify demands, rates. To qualify is to restrict or limit by exceptions or conditions: to qualify one's praise, hopes. To temper is to alter the quality of something, generally so as to diminish its force or harshness: to temper one's criticism with humor.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for modifiable
Historical Examples
  • The little part of the scheme of affairs which is modifiable by our efforts is continuous with the rest of the world.

  • Nor does Protagoras deny that men are teachable and modifiable.

  • They are modifiable merely for the sake of economy or other convenience.

  • "Human nature" is modifiable and economic choice and action are factors in this indivisible process (§§ 2-4).

    Creative Intelligence John Dewey, Addison W. Moore, Harold Chapman Brown, George H. Mead, Boyd H. Bode, Henry Waldgrave, Stuart James, Hayden Tufts, Horace M. Kallen
  • It is a statement of the fact that conduct is modifiable and that such modifications may become permanent.

    How to Teach George Drayton Strayer and Naomi Norsworthy
  • Means of correcting the modifiable being that we call bad, and encouraging the other that we call good.

  • More from observing others than by studying ourselves we see how modifiable a thing human nature is.

  • What are her natural disabilities, and to what extent are they modifiable by new arrangements of social and domestic life?

    The Truth About Woman C. Gasquoine Hartley
British Dictionary definitions for modifiable

modify

/ˈmɒdɪˌfaɪ/
verb (mainly transitive) -fies, -fying, -fied
1.
to change the structure, character, intent, etc, of
2.
to make less extreme or uncompromising: to modify a demand
3.
(grammar) (of a word or group of words) to bear the relation of modifier to (another word or group of words)
4.
(linguistics) to change (a vowel) by umlaut
5.
(intransitive) to be or become modified
Derived Forms
modifiable, adjective
modifiability, modifiableness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French modifier, from Latin modificāre to limit, control, from modus measure + facere to make
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
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Word Origin and History for modifiable

modify

v.

late 14c., from Old French modifier (14c.), from Latin modificare "to limit, measure off, restrain," from modus "measure, manner" (see mode (n.1)) + root of facere "to make" (see factitious). Related: Modified; modifying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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