major

adjective
ma·jor | \ ˈmā-jər \

Definition of major 

(Entry 1 of 4)

1 : greater in dignity, rank, importance, or interest one of the major poets

2 : greater in number, quantity, or extent the major part of his work

3 : of full legal age major children

4a : notable or conspicuous in effect or scope : considerable a major improvement

b : prominent or significant in size, amount, or degree earned some major cash

5 : involving grave risk : serious a major illness

6 : of or relating to a subject of academic study chosen as a field of specialization The student's major field is geology.

7a : having half steps between the third and fourth and the seventh and eighth degrees major scale

b : based on a major scale major key

c : equivalent to the distance between the keynote and another tone (except the fourth and fifth) of a major scale major third

d : having a major third above the root major triad

major

noun

Definition of major (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : a person who has attained majority

2a : one that is superior in rank, importance, size, or performance economic power of the oil majors

b : a major musical interval, scale, key, or mode

3 : a commissioned officer in the army, air force, or marine corps ranking above a captain and below a lieutenant colonel

4a : an academic subject chosen as a field of specialization

b : a student specializing in such a field a history major

5 majors plural : major league baseball used with the

6 : any of several high-level tournaments in professional golf or tennis

major

verb
majored; majoring; majors

Definition of major (Entry 3 of 4)

intransitive verb

: to pursue an academic major majored in English

Major

biographical name
Ma·jor | \ ˈmā-jər \

Definition of Major (Entry 4 of 4)

Sir John 1943–     British prime minister (1990–97)

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Examples of major in a Sentence

Adjective

He's one of the major figures in 19th-century U.S. history. Researchers have announced a major advance in the treatment of cancer. She played a major role in the negotiations. No major changes are expected. The grant covered a major part of the cost. Butter is one of the major ingredients in the recipe. None of his health problems are major. He suffered a major heart attack.

Noun

He chose history as his major and French as his minor. What was your major in college? In college, he was a history major. a club for physics majors
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The World Cup, which closes with matches in St. Petersburg and Moscow this weekend, was the first major international event hosted by several Russian cities at the same time. Ivan Nechepurenko, New York Times, "Peeking Around Corners in the World Cup’s Provincial Cities," 14 July 2018 Here’s a look at the opening lines for Sunday’s game (11 a.m., Fox29), which will be the first major sporting event since sports betting was legalized in New Jersey on June 14. Ed Barkowitz, Philly.com, "Atlantic City bookies offer odds and props for Sunday's World Cup final between France and Croatia," 13 July 2018 Heavy rain is expected in the region until Saturday, and may increase the chances of a major calving event, according to the Independent newspaper in the United Kingdom. Bart Jansen, USA TODAY, "Massive iceberg looms off Greenland coast, threatening tiny village," 13 July 2018 Portable cell sites are often used at major events where thousands converge, such as Lollapalooza. Ally Marotti, chicagotribune.com, "Pokemon Go Fest is back and ready for the crowds after disappointing thousands last year," 12 July 2018 Sunderland previously reported sticking points to booking major events during a council work session in March, such as whether the city or Tufton would provide insurance coverage, alcohol service and scheduling. David Anderson, The Aegis, "Citing progress, Ripken Stadium events manager seeks approval to book 2019 events," 11 July 2018 Top Chef Quickfire will be open during home games for the Chicago Fire and Chicago Red Stars soccer teams and other major events. Bob Bong, Daily Southtown, "Comings & Goings: ‘Top Chef’ concession stand opens at Toyota Park," 10 July 2018 The platform, which has over 1.8 billion monthly active users, has been criticized for not cracking down enough on rumors and conspiracy theories that bubble up during major breaking news events. Christopher Carbone, Fox News, "YouTube investing $25M in journalism and pushing 'authoritative' sources," 10 July 2018 Since 1993, the outing has been the company’s major fundraising event. Carpenter Realtors, Indianapolis Star, "Working with Carpenter Realtors® means giving back to your community," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

He was accepted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at 16 but flunked out after three years as a math major. Mary Williams Walsh, BostonGlobe.com, "Jeremy Gold, 75, actuary who warned of pension crisis," 14 July 2018 For most people, there’s still much to be learned about Douglass’ life and legacy, says Grimmette, a retired Army major. Janene Holzberg, baltimoresun.com, "For Gambrills resident Bill Grimmette, portrayal of Frederick Douglass pays homage to a pioneer of justice," 13 July 2018 They were married last September following the Pacific Southwest Championships and Karen has been keeping house for Rod, a business major, ever since in San Antonio. sandiegouniontribune.com, "July 8, 1962: Susman triumphs at Wimbledon," 8 July 2018 The Astros called up the 22-year-old Perez to the majors on Wednesday afternoon. Matt Young, Houston Chronicle, "Look how happy Astros rookie Cionel Perez was to make his big league debut," 12 July 2018 Three days after returning to the majors, Broxton had a two-homer game in an 8-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds. Jim Reineking, USA TODAY, "Keon Broxton makes amazing catch to preserve Milwaukee Brewers' sweep of Minnesota Twins," 4 July 2018 This still doesn’t warrant a call-up to the majors. Charles Curtis, For The Win, "Baseball scout on Tim Tebow: 'He is better'," 28 June 2018 Some of the issues are similar to the majors: Pitchers who work too slowly; multiple pitching changes per inning; and too many meetings on the mound, with coaches walking out leisurely to conduct them. Pat Borzi, New York Times, "Pace of Play Problems Plague College Baseball, Too," 25 June 2018 Bush was an 18-year-old shortstop then who had no idea what was ahead on his path to the majors. Jeff Wilson, star-telegram, "What's it like to be the first overall draft pick? One Rangers pitcher knows," 4 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

At Penn State, Holmes plans to major in biobehavioral health and minor in African-American studies. Lori Riley, courant.com, "National Champion Holmes Of Hamden Hopes To Make Her Mark At Penn State," 12 July 2018 Calahan, a 2014 graduate of Maine South High School, majored in physics and astronomy at the university and is now studying astronomy in the Netherlands. Jennifer Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "Shout Out: Jenny Calahan, Maine South grad, student of astronomy," 3 July 2018 Poetz, who graduated from HSE, will major in broadcast journalism at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, and hopes to be a television broadcaster or news producer. John Tuohy, Indianapolis Star, "Fishers mayor removed from office, but it's his choice," 25 June 2018 Steve Karo majored in music at San Diego State University, played in countless bands and musicals in San Diego and on the road. Roger Showley, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Steve Karo, who led the effort to save Balboa Theatre, dies at 75," 21 June 2018 Always good with numbers, Tepper majored in economics at Pittsburgh. Rick Rothacker And Katherine Peralta, charlotteobserver, "Meet David Tepper: The outspoken billionaire buying the Panthers | Charlotte Observer," 15 May 2018 According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Crosby majored in preplanning, public policy and management at Oregon. Detroit Free Press Staff, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions draft Oregon's Tyrell Crosby: 'A bad-bodied assassin'," 28 Apr. 2018 Poynter majored in education and worked as a teacher. Elaine Ayala, San Antonio Express-News, "Twins look back at their reign as Miss Fiesta ‘68," 25 Apr. 2018 Sin majored in Cognitive Science, and his analytical mind is evident in his approach to food. Mary Wang, Vogue, "Could This Restaurant Be the Sweetgreen of Chinese Food?," 26 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'major.' 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 major

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1616, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1913, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for major

Adjective

Middle English maiour, from Latin major, comparative of magnus great, large — more at much

Noun

see major entry 1

Verb

see major entry 1

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Statistics for major

Last Updated

19 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for major

The first known use of major was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for major

major

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of major

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: very important

: large in number, amount, or extent

: very serious or bad

major

noun

English Language Learners Definition of major (Entry 2 of 2)

: a military officer in the army, air force, or marines who ranks above a captain

: the main subject studied by a college or university student

: a student who has a specified main subject of study

major

adjective
ma·jor | \ ˈmā-jər \

Kids Definition of major

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : great or greater in number, quantity, rank, or importance A new car is a major expense.

2 : of or relating to a musical scale of eight notes with half steps between the third and fourth and between the seventh and eighth notes and with whole steps between all the others

major

noun

Kids Definition of major (Entry 2 of 2)

: a commissioned officer in the army, air force, or marine corps ranking above a captain

major

adjective
ma·jor | \ ˈmā-jər \

Medical Definition of major 

: involving grave risk : serious a major illness a major surgical procedure — compare minor

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major

noun
ma·jor

Legal Definition of major 

: a person who has attained majority — compare minor

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Comments on major

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