Definition of mode in English:

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Pronunciation: /mōd/


1A way or manner in which something occurs or is experienced, expressed, or done: his preferred mode of travel was a kayak differences between language modes, namely speech and writing
More example sentences
  • He looked at the expeditions' objectives, countries of origin, leaders' experience, funding and modes of travel.
  • Our results show that these four translation proteins have experienced different modes of evolution.
  • When did we no longer appreciate that to dignify certain modes of behavior, manners, and ways of being with artistic representation was implicitly to glorify and promote them?
manner, way, fashion, means, method, system, style, approach, technique, procedure, process, practice
1.1An option allowing a change in the method of operation of a device, especially a camera: a camcorder in automatic mode
More example sentences
  • Passive mode locking allows the device to produce near transform-limited pulses and to be compact and simple.
  • While the temptation may be there to force the camera into an editorial mode, they allow the characters to carry the story.
  • The best part of the surprise was that not only had I taken these photographs on my own, but I also had taken them with the camera in manual mode.
function, position, operation
1.2 Computing A way of operating or using a system: some computers provide several so-called processor modes
More example sentences
  • Major modes redefine how keystrokes operate, usually the Tab and Delete keys.
  • Software interrupts are interrupts produced by a program and processed in kernel mode by the operating system.
  • In addition to the control, the web pages display information about network settings, operating mode and system status.
1.3 Physics Any of the distinct kinds or patterns of vibration of an oscillating system.
Example sentences
  • The physical scalar fields that oscillate as normal modes about the potential minimum are the massless angular mode and the massive radial mode.
  • Here particles such as electrons are seen as vibration modes on strings.
  • But when they perturbed the rotating liquid with a pencil, they found that the circulation pattern could flip between distinct modes.
1.4 Logic The character of a modal proposition (whether necessary, contingent, possible, or impossible).
1.5 Logic & Grammar another term for mood2.
2A fashion or style in clothes, art, literature, etc. in the Seventies, the mode for activewear took hold
More example sentences
  • Longer length gloves, covered with cuff bracelets in the mode of Breakfast at Tiffany style will have a place worn with three quarter or elbow length sleeves.
  • It is possible to argue that York, like Aachen, was a city with imperial pretensions, with modern new buildings in the classical mode, and fine objects decorated in fashionable new styles.
  • Seeking to transfer the realist mode of literature to German soil, he rejected the naturalism associated with figures such as Gerhard Hauptmann.
fashion, vogue, style, look, trend;
craze, rage, fad
3 Statistics The value that occurs most frequently in a given set of data.
Example sentences
  • Figure 4 shows mean and standard error of the mode, or most common, vessel length for the series of apple rootstock and scion varieties.
  • Various measures of central tendency and dispersion were calculated, including the mean, median, mode, standard deviation, and skew.
  • Genotype and allele frequencies were calculated from the mean of the 100 nearest values to the mode of the posterior distribution.
4 Music A set of musical notes forming a scale and from which melodies and harmonies are constructed.

The modes of plainsong and later Western music (including the usual major and minor scales) correspond to the diatonic scales played on the white notes of a piano. They are named arbitrarily after ancient Greek modes: Ionian (or major), Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, and Locrian.

Example sentences
  • His musical language is spare in style, its melodies and harmonies based on old church modes and the pentatonic scales of Finnish folk-music.
  • That relation appears in countless images of Krishna playing the flute to cowherds, in the narratives that accompany Indian modes, or ragas, and iconography used to depict divine love.
  • The tonality of the piece and the printed signature result from the scale or mode the composer has used during composition.


Late Middle English (in the musical and grammatical senses): from Latin modus 'measure', from an Indo-European root shared by mete1; compare with mood2.

Words that rhyme with mode

abode, bestrode, bode, code, commode, corrode, download, encode, erode, explode, forebode, goad, implode, load, lode, middle-of-the-road, node, ode, offload, outrode, road, rode, sarod, Spode, strode, toad, upload, woad

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: mode

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