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English definition of “modal”

modal

noun [C] uk   /ˈməʊ.dəl/ us    /ˈmoʊ.dəl/ ( also modal verb) specialized
B1 a verb, such as "can", "might", and "must", that is used with another verb to express an idea such as possibility that is not expressed by the main verb of a sentence: The first verb in the following sentence is a modal: We ought to pay the gas bill.
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(Definition of modal from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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