major

adjective
ma·​jor | \ ˈmā-jər How to pronounce major (audio) \

Definition of major

 (Entry 1 of 3)

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 3)

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, tennis, or bowling

major

verb
majored; majoring; majors

Definition of major (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to pursue an academic major majored in English

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Along the way, forward guidance has become a major threat to the Fed’s credibility. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 27 July 2022 For Sysco, the pandemic was a major threat because consumers stopped eating out. Kristine Gill, Fortune, 27 July 2022 The Indian theatrical scene has undergone major changes in recent years, resulting in a much more open market. Patrick Frater, Variety, 27 July 2022 The latest iOS 16 beta has brought major changes to message editing. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 27 July 2022 Smith is entering the fifth season of his rookie contract and is viewed by most around the NFL as the biggest building block on a Bears defense that has undergone major changes the last two seasons. Dan Wiederer, Chicago Tribune, 25 July 2022 Emboldened perhaps by their success during the covid period when the 2021 schedule was announced in September 2020, there were several major changes. Greg Engle, Forbes, 25 July 2022 The foursome is preparing to experience major life changes after living together for eight years. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, 22 July 2022 The couple enlisted the help of Bailey Remodeling, then temporarily moved into an apartment while their new house underwent major changes. Lennie Omalza, The Courier-Journal, 21 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In his last role before leaving the oil major in 2020, Mr. Erginbilgic led BP’s downstream business, which included refining, petrochemicals and its jet fuel operations. Peter Stiff, WSJ, 26 July 2022 Others offer residential learning communities where students in the same major can live in the same dorms. Megan Leonhardt, Fortune, 21 July 2022 The final men's major of 2022 got off to an exciting start on Thursday. Kaleb Anderson, USA TODAY, 14 July 2022 Schauffele now has won two straight PGA Tour starts — his win in the J.P. McManus Pro-Am in Ireland at the start of the week doesn't count — going into the final major of the year. Fox News, 11 July 2022 Although she was cut in her first year at Rochester, the mechanical engineering major came back and made the practice squad and then the varsity. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 4 July 2022 The fourth and final major of the year is just a chip shot away at the birthplace of golf. Jay Ginsbach, Forbes, 29 June 2022 Zalatoris, who closed with a 69, was a runner-up in the second straight major. Houston Mitchell, Los Angeles Times, 20 June 2022 Zalatoris was a runner-up in the second straight major. CBS News, 19 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb As the University of California at Los Angeles' Cooperative Institutional Research Program found, only 4.3% of college freshmen intended to major in education in 2018, compared to 11% in 2000. Arthur Jones Ii, ABC News, 8 July 2022 Ultimately, Adirika went with Harvard and plans to major in government this upcoming fall, the school confirmed. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, 13 June 2022 Hardaway, the son of Memphis coach Penny Hardaway, has a 3.9 grade point average and is looking to major in business. Richard Davenport, Arkansas Online, 6 June 2022 The urban studies major currently splits an attic space in what is technically a one-bedroom apartment shared by four undergraduates, one of whom sleeps in the dining room. Janie Har, Anchorage Daily News, 27 Apr. 2022 Donaldson plans to major in either sports marketing or finance while at UK and wants to use her degree for the progression of women in sports. Jonathan Saxon, The Courier-Journal, 20 May 2022 Conyers graduated with a scholarship to the State University of New York at Stony Brook to major in respiratory therapy. Morgan Sung, NBC News, 16 May 2022 The urban studies major currently splits an attic space in what is technically a one-bedroom apartment shared by four undergraduates, one of whom sleeps in the dining room. Janie Har, Anchorage Daily News, 27 Apr. 2022 The urban studies major currently splits an attic space in what is technically a one-bedroom apartment shared by four undergraduates, one of whom sleeps in the dining room. Janie Har, Chicago Tribune, 26 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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, Noun, and Verb

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

Learn More About major

Time Traveler for major

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near major

majolica earth

major

Major

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Statistics for major

Last Updated

31 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Major.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/major. Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for major

major

adjective
ma·​jor | \ ˈmā-jər How to pronounce major (audio) \

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 How to pronounce major (audio) \

Medical Definition of major

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

major

noun
ma·​jor

Legal Definition of major

: a person who has attained majority — compare minor

Major biographical name

Ma·​jor | \ ˈmā-jər How to pronounce Major (audio) \

Definition of Major

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

More from Merriam-Webster on major

Nglish: Translation of major for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of major for Arabic Speakers

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