Meaning of modern in English:


Pronunciation /ˈmɒd(ə)n/

See synonyms for modern

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

    ‘the pace of modern life’
    • ‘modern European history’
    • ‘Interestingly the exhibitions link past and present with some modern artefacts and photos on display.’
    • ‘Over the past decades, modern encroachments and thoughtless building have marred the historic fabric of the city.’
    • ‘The comment remains true of periods of the much more recent past, including Australian social history of the modern period.’
    • ‘The grey bridges stood silently above the rivers, with the rubbish of modern life floating past occasionally.’
    • ‘Two modern women present a spirited interpretation of a Chinese folk tale’
    • ‘Far from exclusively singling out the Nazi regime, the modern age is presented as singularly tyrannical and repressive.’
    • ‘Suddenly you are aware of all the terrible dangers this modern world presents to the barely-walking.’
    • ‘He draws attention to survivals of shamanistic cults from early modern times to the present.’
    • ‘A walk down Tokyo's main thoroughfares presents the modern observer with conflicting pictures.’
    • ‘All the groupings and distinctions of modern feminism were present then.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He has chosen nine areas of research to present his analysis of modern Japan.’
    • ‘Let us turn to the experience of rear services support in military events that took place both in the past and in modern Russia.’
    • ‘Before then, I though that our modern society had moved past such things but, sadly, it has not.’
    • ‘Some are remote from modern civilisation, others survive cheek by jowl with spreading towns and motorways.’
    • ‘He didn't know why, but it seemed like trust was becoming a thing of the past in the modern world of people today.’
    • ‘In this way, she presents a refreshing alternative to official and political histories of modern India.’
    • ‘The play takes the audience through a remarkable journey from past to modern South Africa by means of dance and song.’
    • ‘This lost generation is perhaps the most unempowered generation in modern Bahamian history.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Give troops the very best training and most modern weapons and equipment.’
      • ‘The roof has been repaired and modern kitchen equipment installed.’
      • ‘With modern technology and equipment, it is hoped that Chinese scientists develop new drugs with patents.’
      • ‘It will include a library and staff room and have modern information technology equipment, as well as provision for a wildlife area.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Without modern technology and test equipment, they came pretty close to the answers that pilots ask every day.’
      • ‘It was an interesting display of modern equipment and technology.’
      • ‘Even with modern technology and equipment, the threat of death is very real.’
      • ‘One is that while modern ideas and technology have helped get us into this mess, we will still need them to get us out.’
      • ‘It is humbling to remember that the two lives saved that day weren't due to fancy new techniques or expensive modern technology.’
      • ‘Be happy to move with the times - be more modern and embrace more modern equipment and technology.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Any form of electoral fraud is a criminal offence so safeguards are needed, and as modern technology progresses, it's now a barcode.’
      • ‘The dizzying advances of modern technology have destroyed these assumptions.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One is the setting up of a nationalised digital library with modern equipment, which could be accessed by people from all walks of life.’
      • ‘Rapid advances in modern technology are bringing the physical merger of man and machine closer to reality.’
      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. 1.2attributive Denoting the form of a language that is currently used, as opposed to any earlier form.
      ‘modern German’
      • ‘Some examples of words which never made it into the modern language.’
      • ‘The Italian was the only modern language which possessed anything that could be called a literature.’
      • ‘If that's true, the evolution of recursion may have brought modern language into existence.’
      • ‘I find that surprising, because there was an opportunity to completely redraft that part into modern language.’
      • ‘In his translations O'Riordain generally avoids words that have passed out of use in the modern language.’
      • ‘It was Sir Thomas More who thrust the words Utopia and Utopian into the canon of modern language.’
      • ‘The winning language was the langue d' oil spoken by the Francs, which evolved into modern French.’
      • ‘Stressing that Samskrit is indeed a modern language, she says the aim of the Samskrita Bharati is to popularise the language.’
      • ‘Most writers regretted the decline of modern language.’
      • ‘Although much of our modern language comes from the language of the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings, very few Christian names do.’
      • ‘All of the modern vernaculars spoken in Northern India today are direct descendants of Sanskrit and Prakrit.’
      • ‘Genuinely upset by the waiter's ignorance of dead languages my teacher grudgingly had to settle for ordering in the modern vernacular.’
      • ‘The event also saw the launch of a new Book of Common Prayer, containing services in traditional and modern language.’
      • ‘Her eyes fell on a passage in standard modern French, in a messy hand, as though it had been written in haste.’
      • ‘In modern French, the term has come to be used for portable barbed wire entanglements.’
      • ‘He was particularly committed to the revitalization of Hebrew as a modern, spoken language.’
      • ‘It appeared to share some similarities to the modern Tibetan language, but far more complex.’
      • ‘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.’
    3. 1.3attributive 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’
      • ‘Degas was an artist torn between traditional art and the modern impressionist movement.’
      • ‘The exhibition of the year brings together major masterpieces by the two giants of modern art, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso.’
      • ‘He called on architects to combine traditional Chinese styles with modern trends.’
      • ‘He was respected as one of the first art historians to apply the apparatus of traditional scholarship to modern art.’
      • ‘But its range is far wider, and it includes a very significant section devoted to modern and contemporary art.’
      • ‘But none of them as a centre for Indian contemporary art or modern architecture.’
      • ‘Many churches built today combine traditional and modern architectural styles.’
      • ‘Innovation in art is not a new phenomenon - we have seen paintings evolve through the ages from traditional to modern art.’
      • ‘The modernist belief that modern art should repudiate the past has been jettisoned.’
      • ‘Traditional and modern art performances are put on during holidays and the Muslim post-fasting festivities.’
      • ‘Manchester is a hotbed of modern architecture and art.’
      • ‘It was a marriage of innovation and imagination that brought to life a blend of traditional and modern art.’
      • ‘Contemporary sculptors often blend traditional styles with more modern ones.’
      • ‘Hardly anything in modern art is more familiar than a Modigliani painting.’
      • ‘He worked in a variety of styles, often parodying modes of both traditional and modern painting.’
      • ‘The fusion of old-fashioned values and modern architecture?’
      • ‘Before the modern period, the art of the grotesque was often placed in a religious context.’
      • ‘It works well with black-and-white photography and abstract and modern art.’
      • ‘She visited the exhibition daily, and it was there that she gained her first broad introduction to modern art.’
      • ‘He also has some pen drawings displayed, which are a mix of traditional and modern styles.’


usually moderns
  • A person who advocates or practises a departure from traditional styles or values.

    ‘they were moderns, they must not look back towards the old generation’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And while the church has made only the barest concessions to modernity, the moderns love the church - at least to gawk at.’
    • ‘The romantics place former greats at the top, while those with little feel for history or tradition opt for the moderns.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘That contrast, at least, is not a fault, but an achievement, as profound as any to be heard in later moderns and modernists.’
    • ‘Are we moderns so different in this respect from traditional peoples?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Not surprisingly, many moderns are turned off by this.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘However, the theory that went with it was rather alien to moderns.’
    • ‘Like most moderns, I have become largely indifferent to filmic violence.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The fundamental distinction that pervades and informs all of his work is that between the ancients and the moderns.’


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