de minimis

adjective
de min·​i·​mis | \dē-ˈmi-nə-məs, 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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Did You Know?

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

Federal law, and the laws of every state, already requires disclosure of the names, addresses, and, in most cases, employer information of all but the most de minimis donors to campaigns, political parties, and political-action committees. Bradley A. Smith, WSJ, "The Threat to Privacy of Opinion," 28 June 2018 Food stamps already has a de minimis work rule for some participants, but states have applied for waivers and exemptions that have diluted it. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Working on Food Stamps," 11 Apr. 2018 The market for small-time tournaments is de minimis. Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "Mailbag: Adding Some Much-Needed Context to the Report On Corruption Within Tennis," 2 May 2018 Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says the effects of the new tariffs are de minimis. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Steel Tariff Blues in Red State America," 21 Mar. 2018 Republican Senator Lamar Alexander has tried to work a deal with Democratic Senator Patty Murray, but Democrats have refused to allow states any running room to experiment, aside from de minimis paperwork exemptions. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The ObamaCare ‘Sabotage’ Meme," 13 Oct. 2017 The cost of granting DACA status is de minimis; applicants pay processing fees and are ineligible for food stamps or Medicaid. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A Bad GOP Dream," 20 July 2017 Senate Democrats refused in the talks to make more than de minimis changes to ObamaCare’s waiver process to give states more regulatory flexibility. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Panic Over Graham-Cassidy," 21 Sep. 2017

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.

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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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More Definitions for de minimis

de minimis

adjective
de min·​i·​mis | \dē-ˈmi-nə-məs, dā-ˈmē-ni-mis \

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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