Definition of modality in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /mōˈdalədē/

noun (plural modalities)

1Modal quality: the harmony had a touch of modality
More example sentences
  • Open fifths, fourths and tritones, modality and whole-tone scales abound.
  • It was a conscious construction, an amalgam of Middle Eastern melismata and rhythms, Renaissance modality, and, oddly enough, Baroque counterpoint.
  • There is an air of reflective modality about this recital, and yet it is Edmund Rubbra rather than Vaughan Williams to whom the greater part of the performance time is devoted.
2A particular mode in which something exists or is experienced or expressed.
Example sentences
  • Relaxation, a practiced therapy, includes the three modalities of self - mind, body, and spirit.
  • What is the modality of a person's relationship to others in the group?
  • I will say that some philosophers somehow change the modality in this characterization from can to must.
2.1A particular method or procedure: traditional modalities of representing time and space
More example sentences
  • In the last decade, several new lines of evidence have emerged that have re-examined this issue using either new diagnostic modalities or research techniques.
  • Although new diagnostic modalities have been developed, these criteria remain the standard method to diagnose PV.
  • In these modules, students encounter methods and assessment modalities similar to those used in postgraduate education - such as peer presentations.
2.2A particular form of sensory perception: the visual and auditory modalities
More example sentences
  • Thinking about affect invites an attention to perception, especially varieties of perception across sensory modalities.
  • Those measures of perceptual acuity were presented in the visual, auditory, and olfactory sensory modalities.
  • However, hallucinations in auditory and other sensory modalities can also occur.
2.3(In medicine, particularly homeopathy) a symptom or pattern that aids in diagnosis: The modality of “worse with activity” is associated with Rhus Tox


Early 17th century: from medieval Latin modalitas, from modalis (see modal).

Words that rhyme with modality

banality, duality, fatality, finality, ideality, legality, locality, morality, natality, orality, reality, regality, rurality, tonality, totality, venality, vitality, vocality

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: mo·dal·i·ty

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.