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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Modify \Mod"i*fy\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Modified; p. pr. & vb. n. Modifying.] [F. modifier, L. modificare, modificari; modus limit + -ficare (in comp.) to make. See Mode, and -fy.]

  1. To change somewhat the form or qualities of; to change a part of something while leaving most parts unchanged; to alter somewhat; as, to modify a contrivance adapted to some mechanical purpose; to modify the terms of a contract.

  2. To limit or reduce in extent or degree; to moderate; to qualify; to lower.

    Of his grace He modifies his first severe decree.


vb. (present participle of modify English) altering.

Usage examples of "modifying".

The proposed acquiescence of the National Executive in any reasonable temporary State arrangement for the freed people is made with the view of possibly modifying the confusion and destitution which must at best attend all classes by a total revolution of labor throughout whole States.

Whether natural selection has really thus acted in nature, in modifying and adapting the various forms of life to their several conditions and stations, must be judged of by the general tenour and balance of evidence given in the following chapters.

Nor do I believe that any great physical change, as of climate, or any unusual degree of isolation to check immigration, is actually necessary to produce new and unoccupied places for natural selection to fill up by modifying and improving some of the varying inhabitants.

I can see no more reason to doubt this, than that man can improve the fleetness of his greyhounds by careful and methodical selection, or by that unconscious selection which results from each man trying to keep the best dogs without any thought of modifying the breed.

I know of no case better adapted to show the importance of the laws of correlation in modifying important structures, independently of utility and, therefore, of natural selection, than that of the difference between the outer and inner flowers in some Compositous and Umbelliferous plants.

We shall thus also be enabled to see the respective parts which habit and the selection of so-called accidental variations have played in modifying the mental qualities of our domestic animals.

Switzerland, I can see no difficulty in natural selection increasing and modifying the instinct--always supposing each modification to be of use to the species--until an ant was formed as abjectly dependent on its slaves as is the Formica rufescens.

SACHS first clearly pointed out the important difference between the action of light in modifying the periodic movements of leaves, and in causing them to bend towards its source.

By their sympathetic connections they wield a modifying influence over all the other functions of the system.

The employment of an infusion of red clover blossoms, in small doses, is of undoubted value in modifying the irritation of the air-passages, and may be used to good advantage with, or in alternation with the Golden Medical Discovery.

While such a demand may not in strictness be in derogation of public law, or perhaps of any existing treaty between the United States and a foreign country, the expediency of so far modifying the act as to exempt from tax the income of such consuls as are not citizens of the United States, derived from the emoluments of their office or from property not situated in the United States, is submitted to your serious consideration.

It should be observed also that this part of the oath is subject to the modifying and abrogating power of legislation and supreme judicial decision.

The condition of the border will necessarily come into consideration in connection with the question of continuing or modifying the rights of transit from Canada through the United States, as well as the regulation of imposts, which were temporarily established by the reciprocity treaty of the 5th June, 1854.

Most philanthropy starts out unquestioningly with the assumption that by modifying the individual for the better, it will thereby improve the germinal quality of the race.

Because, presumably, in each individual there is a different set of modifying factors or else a variation in the factor.