Share this entry

modality Line breaks: mo¦dal|ity
Pronunciation: /mə(ʊ)ˈdalɪti/

Definition of modality in English:

noun (plural modalities)

1 [mass noun] Modal 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: the modalities of troop withdrawals
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.


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

Definition of modality in:

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.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day doofus
Pronunciation: ˈdo͞ofəs
a stupid person