Main definitions of modal in English

: modal1modal2

modal1

Pronunciation /ˈmōdl/ /ˈmoʊdl/

Translate modal into Spanish

adjective

  • 1Relating to mode or form as opposed to substance.

    ‘In the jargon of transport planners, there has occurred a substantial modal shift in transportation in these cities.’
    • ‘The objective of integrated public transport is clear - to achieve a high transit modal share with a seamless service using two or more modes.’
    • ‘That is, a person's income does not vary by mode unless it is defined as net of modal costs.’
    • ‘The spokesman said the system was attracting people to public transport: ‘We are seeing quite a lot of modal shift from the car to the tram network.’’
    • ‘He told the meeting: ‘It would be unbelievably crass to introduce a system without any other element of modal shift.’’
    • ‘We are determined to achieve further modal shift (from cars to buses) and will continue to develop our services to do this.’
  • 2Grammar
    Of or denoting the mood of a verb.

    ‘However, it's crucial that the second part of such a sentence (the apodosis of the conditional) normally also has a modal preterite, often would or could or might, but not will or can or may.’
    • ‘Holmes distinguishes two functions of tag questions: modal vs. affective.’
    • ‘In contrast to the tense distinctions that characterize English, English-based Creoles are said to make a basic modal distinction between realis and irrealis.’
    • ‘One example of the prevalence of the traditional use of modal notions can be found in the early medieval de dicto/de re analysis of examples such as ‘A standing man can sit’.’
    1. 2.1Relating to a modal verb.
      ‘The modal auxiliaries or modal verbs are can, could, may, might, shall, should, will would, must.’
      • ‘Seventy-five Panjabi-speaking pupils were assessed on their expression of the English modal auxiliaries can, could, may, and might.’
      • ‘Here a past modal form - would, could, should, might - is usually called for.’
      • ‘If the modality concerns a past-time situation, the modal as such does not appear in a past-tense form.’
  • 3Statistics
    Relating to a mode; occurring most frequently in a sample or population.

    ‘For both mutations the median and modal values were 25% opaque.’
    • ‘However, if the income variable data were skewed, the median or modal value would be more appropriate.’
    • ‘These distributions for the variance components imply an a priori distribution of heritability and repeatability with respective modal values of 0.15 and 0.23.’
    • ‘Descriptive statistics such as frequencies and modal categories were then calculated for each variable.’
    • ‘In the second microdeletion survey, participants examined from as few as 5 cells to as many as 100, but the modal number of cells examined was 20.’
    • ‘The Nardus root systems had a more normally distributed root length diameter class distribution with a modal diameter range between 0.3 mm and 0.6 mm.’
  • 4Music
    Of or denoting music using melodies or harmonies based on modes other than the ordinary major and minor scales.

    ‘We find also a fascination with Baroque counterpoint and modal melodies from Gregorian chant to Appalachian folk tunes.’
    • ‘Its three highly creative pieces use alternating meters, compelling ostinatos, modal harmonies and, above all, unexpected twists and turns as the ‘plot’ of each piece unfolds.’
    • ‘How might modern Western instruments be transformed for Arab music, say by retuning the piano for microtonal modal systems?’
    • ‘You knew how to find just the right dreamlike quality for the music, whose harmonic language is neither tonal, nor modal, nor truly chromatic, but a little of all three at the same time.’
    • ‘There is a good deal of modal harmony, taken from Scandinavian folk music, which is comforting to the ear but far from anodyne.’
  • 5Logic
    (of a proposition) in which the predicate is affirmed of the subject with some qualification, or which involves the affirmation of possibility, impossibility, necessity, or contingency.

    ‘Let the letter ‘M’ represent this operator, and add to the axioms of classical propositional logic the modal axiom M (p v q) iff Mp v Mq.’
    • ‘In this connection, I describe certain modal paradoxes and the threats they pose for essentialism.’
    • ‘The three most important parts of this definition for quantified modal logic are the clauses for atomic, quantified, and modal formulas.’
    • ‘The study of inferences involving modal operators goes back to Aristotle, and was continued in the Middle Ages.’
    • ‘To see that modal propositional logic is not truth-functional, just consider the following pair of statements.’
    • ‘His arguments regarding this are presented in which also examines more generally his views on modal logic.’

noun

Grammar
  • A modal word or construction.

    ‘These preferences often serve to clarify, but a less deft handling leads to tercets like the following, their force buried under prepositions, pronouns and modals.’
    • ‘The other students, English majors all, seemed terrified by the prospect of a semester of moods and modals, subordinate clauses and predicate adjectives.’
    • ‘These complements contain modals and therefore can't be infinitives.’
    • ‘Coastal Southern and Upper South are typified by double modals: She might can do it; Could you may go?’
    • ‘All of these women's raps illustrate that they can do what they are doing, and by this I intend for both readings of the modal ‘can’ to be in effect.’

Origin

Mid 16th century (in modal (sense 5 of the adjective)): from medieval Latin modalis, from Latin modus (see mode).

Main definitions of modal in English

: modal1modal2

modal2

Pronunciation /ˈmōdl/ /ˈmoʊdl/

Translate modal into Spanish

noun

  • A type of rayon fiber or fabric that has high strength when wet, made mainly from beechwood pulp.

    ‘modal is shrink-resistant and unlikely to fade’
    • ‘the scarves are made of a soft, finely knit modal fabric’

Origin

1970s perhaps from modulus (sense 2) (the fiber has a high wet modulus, i.e. high strength when it is wet).