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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
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. 2014.
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Examples from the web for modifying
  • As people move, their cultural traits and ideas diffuse along with them, creating and modifying cultural landscapes.
  • The idea is to explain the observed acceleration of the universe by modifying gravity rather than introducing dark energy.
  • For centuries, farmers have been genetically modifying their plants without even knowing it.
  • modifying that animal virus would be easier for those who don't have the means to synthesize it from scratch.
  • It is also perfectly normal for the same prefix to pronounce differently depending on the root word it is modifying.
  • Words multiply, some modifying and qualifying, others repeating or padding the main argument.
  • Markers, knockouts and other technical advances improve breeding without modifying genes.
  • We are now constantly modifying the universe to make the math work.
  • modifying equipment, he argues, could become expensive.
  • According to quantum physics, it is impossible to observe the state of a quantum system without modifying it.
British Dictionary definitions for modifying

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
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Word Origin and History for modifying

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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