de minimis

adjective
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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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 Judges don’t want to see these de minimis marijuana cases. Washington Post, "Prosecutors won’t pursue marijuana possession charges in 2 Northern Va. counties," 3 Jan. 2020 Meanwhile, bigger solutions—such as a de minimis exemption for small transactions or an amnesty for low level transgressions—will have to come from Congress. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "Here Comes the IRS—The Ledger," 29 July 2019 Companies can legally continue some shipments to Huawei under what’s known as the de minimis rule, said Kevin Wolf, former head of the Commerce Department’s export control section. latimes.com, "U.S. companies find ways around Trump’s Huawei blacklist," 26 June 2019 Companies like Micron and Intel can legally continue some shipments to Huawei under what’s known as the de minimis rule, says Kevin Wolf, former head of the Commerce Department’s export control section. Time, "U.S. Companies Are Finding Ways to Work Around Trump’s Huawei Blacklist," 26 June 2019 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

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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Time Traveler for de minimis

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The first known use of de minimis was in 1905

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Last Updated

29 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“De minimis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/de%20minimis. Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for de minimis

de minimis

adjective
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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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for de minimis

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