v. mod·i·fied, mod·i·fy·ing, mod·i·fies
1. To change in form or character; alter.
2. To make less extreme, severe, or strong: refused to modify her stand on the issue.
3. Grammar To qualify or limit the meaning of. For example, summer modifies day in the phrase a summer day.
4. Linguistics To change (a vowel) by umlaut.
To be or become modified; change.
[Middle English modifien, from Old French modifier, from Latin modificāre, to measure, limit : modus, measure; see med- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots + -ficāre, -fy.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.