Of or relating to recent times or the present: modern history. Characteristic or expressive of recent times or the present; contemporary or up-to-date: a modern lifestyle; a modern way of thinking. Of or relating to a recently developed or advanced style, technique, or technology: modern art; modern medicine. Avant-garde; experimental. Linguistics Of, relating to, or being a living language or group of languages: Modern Italian; Modern Romance languages. One who lives in modern times. One who has modern ideas, standards, or beliefs. Printing Any of a variety of typefaces characterized by strongly contrasted heavy and thin parts.