de minimis

de min·​i·​mis | \ dē-ˈmi-nə-məs How to pronounce de minimis (audio) , dā-ˈmē-ni-mis \

Definition of de minimis

: lacking significance or importance : so minor as to merit disregard de minimis fringe benefits what amounts to a de minimis tax increase

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Proponents of readable prose over jargon and legalese might argue that the last thing 20th-century American jurisprudence needed was another Latin term. Yet here we have a legal term that entered English only around 1950. Perhaps we should clarify: the legal doctrine of de minimis non curat lex ("the law does not concern itself with trifling matters") has been around for a while, but use of de minimis on its own is relatively recent. At first, the shortened phrase was simply used to refer to the legal doctrine itself ("the de minimis rule"). Then it came to be used more broadly as an adjective ("de minimis contacts with the defendant"). Finally, de minimis leaked out of the courtroom and into the world at large.

Examples of de minimis in a Sentence

stock dividends that were decidedly de minimis
Recent Examples on the Web The de minimis regulation requires minimal data on shipping forms, meaning the true identity of the sender is easy to obscure. Yvonne Lau, Fortune, 20 June 2022 According to the Journal, the U.S. imported $67 billion worth of de minimis shipments in 2020, up from $40.5 million worth in 2012, with China accounting for over $46 billion of them. Yvonne Lau, Fortune, 20 June 2022 As de minimis went from trivial to substantial, the Census Bureau’s official trade statistics didn’t change to reflect this. Josh Zumbrun, WSJ, 17 June 2022 The real amount of exposure to PoolRe on its reinsurance agreement with Reserve Mechanical was, therefore, de minimis, and thus of corresponding little value to Reserve Mechanical. Jay Adkisson, Forbes, 13 May 2022 Companies can also take advantage of the de minimis rule using ocean shipping, which is cheaper than airfreight. Josh Zumbrun, WSJ, 25 Apr. 2022 The use of de minimis has put a dent in tariff revenues, which go to the U.S. Treasury. Josh Zumbrun, WSJ, 25 Apr. 2022 Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who stepped down as CEO late last year, has long declined to take a salary from the social media platform, instead only taking a de minimis $1.40 annual paycheck. Alex Weprin, The Hollywood Reporter, 25 Apr. 2022 Official government entities have de minimis control. Harry G. Broadman, Forbes, 1 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'de minimis.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of de minimis

1905, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for de minimis

New Latin, concerning trifles

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The first known use of de minimis was in 1905

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de minimis

de minimis non curat lex

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Last Updated

5 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“De minimis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for de minimis

de minimis

de min·​i·​mis | \ dē-ˈmi-nə-məs, dā-ˈmē-ni-mis How to pronounce de minimis (audio) \

Legal Definition of de minimis

: lacking significance or importance : so minor as to be disregarded — compare substantial

Note: An action may be dismissed if the claim or cause is considered de minimis.

History and Etymology for de minimis

New Latin, concerning trifles


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