Definition of modulate in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈmäjəˌlāt/


[with object]
1Exert a modifying or controlling influence on: the state attempts to modulate private business’s cash flow
More example sentences
  • Much of this effort will be directed, in one form or other, at modulating the regulatory systems controlling physiological systems.
  • Generally more economical shower controls modulate only temperature.
  • This influence works both by modulating endocrine function such as insulin secretion and by increasing the rate of glycogenolysis and fatty acid mobilization.
regulate, adjust, set, modify, moderate
1.1Vary the strength, tone, or pitch of (one’s voice): we all modulate our voice by hearing it
More example sentences
  • The way one modulates the voice, its pitch, tone and tenor to speak to different persons is nothing but mimicry.
  • The man could modulate his voice into a great variety of tones, booming, hushed, lyrical, penitent, frightened.
  • And, like any good schoolteacher, she modulates her voice to great effect; during moments of particular drama, she is known for speaking to juries in a barely audible whisper.
adjust, change the tone of, temper, soften
1.2Alter the amplitude or frequency of (an electromagnetic wave or other oscillation) in accordance with the variations of a second signal, typically one of a lower frequency: radio waves are modulated to carry the analog information of the voice
More example sentences
  • Method and apparatus for transmitting broadband amplitude modulated radio frequency signals over optical links
  • A method and apparatus for equalizing a received quadrature amplitude modulated signal is disclosed.
  • Multiple radio channel frequency signals that are modulated with respective information modulation are transmitted from a common antenna at multiple radio frequencies.
1.3 [no object] Music Change from one key to another: the first half of the melody, modulating from E minor to G
More example sentences
  • However, there were exceptions; Domenico Scarlatti, for example, sometimes chose to modulate to the mediant at the end of the first section.
  • Each of the first movements is, in its way, a grand synthesis of ritornello and sonata form: only one, K.449, modulates out of the home key in the opening tutti.
  • In any case, this limits a composer's ability to modulate on the piano, where players can't adjust intonation, except crudely and awkwardly, while they perform.
1.4 [no object] (modulate into) Change from one form or condition into (another): ideals and opinions are not modulated into authoritative journalese
More example sentences
  • It is likely that the military activity will have to modulate into the form of intensive, highly militarised policing which characterised the last 30 years in Northern Ireland.
  • This morning I'd allowed my gazing into space to modulate into a full-scale reverie, and I'd lost track completely.
  • After this opening, the images of aggression modulate into images that expose the force of her wisdom and erotic energy.



Pronunciation: /ˈmäjəˌlādər/
Example sentences
  • The electroholographic system consists of a special-purpose computational chip and a high-resolution, reflective mode, liquid-crystal display panel as a spatial light modulator.
  • I often assign pitch bend as a modulator of pan position allowing me to slide sounds around in the stereo field.
  • Health shops are swamped with immune-boosters, but the remedy I want to recommend is a modulator.


Mid 16th century (in the sense 'intone [a song]'): from Latin modulat- 'measured, made melody', from the verb modulari, from modulus 'measure' (see modulus).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: mod·u·late

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