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 campaign against them accelerated this week amid news that major companies like Starbucks, American Airlines and Hyatt are drastically reducing their use, in some cases opting for straw-less plastic tops on some drinks instead. Gina Martinez, Time, "'Disabled People Are Not Part of the Conversation.' Advocates Speak Out Against Plastic Straw Bans," 12 July 2018 Facebook, whose products are used by more than two billion people around the world, isn’t the only major tech company having trouble reversing decades of hiring patterns and making their corporate cultures more welcoming to women of color. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, "Facebook's diversity efforts failing African-American and Hispanic women," 12 July 2018 The Indiana Finance Authority, which funds major state projects, will provide the overall financing through a 30-year bond issue. Tim Zorn, Post-Tribune, "West Lake rail expansion project cost rises to $764.3M, RDA says," 12 July 2018 Private donations and grant money largely go towards major capital projects, of which there are many. Anya Van Wagtendonk, Philly.com, "To save the world, first they must save a building in West Philly," 12 July 2018 These conditions not only created a massive patching challenge for dozens of major companies, but also raised the question of whether the vulnerabilities had been discovered and quietly exploited for years by unknown entities or governments. Lily Hay Newman, WIRED, "Senators Fear Meltdown and Spectre Disclosure Gave China an Edge," 11 July 2018 In 2015, The Intercept reported that a bankruptcy filing by Alpha Natural Resources, a major coal company, listed payments to Free Market and to Mr. Horner. John Schwartz, New York Times, "He Sues to Discredit Climate Scientists. Now He’s Being Sued by His Allies.," 11 July 2018 For the past two years, there has been a major sewer project on Downer on the near East Side. Steve Lord, Aurora Beacon-News, "Aurora set to make Downer Place a two-way street through East Side," 10 July 2018 His dream, friends said, was to move to California some day and land a job with a major software company. Mará Rose Williams And Glenn Rice, kansascity, "UMKC students mourn loss of popular schoolmate: 'We should all be more like Sharath'," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Since 2013, Phil and Tiger have combined to win zero majors. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Morning Line: Baseball is all about adjusting. So, adjust to the adjustment.," 10 July 2018 The 34-year-old left-hander has gone at least six innings in 10 straight starts, the second-longest active streak in the majors behind Max Scherzer’s 16 straight. Kevin Acee, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Padres notes: Richard's efficient run; Hughes, Mitchell progress; slump numbers," 3 July 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Cuadros, a Drexel University student majoring in nutrition, is interning with the Healthy Weight Program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Jose Cuadros, Philly.com, "Healthy family recipe: Salmon en papillote," 29 June 2018 French, a graduate of Medina High School majoring in communication sciences and disorders, received the Outstanding Greek Woman of the Year award. 'sam' Boyer/special To Cleveland.com, cleveland.com, "Scouts had a day of good deeds at the farm: Whit & Whimsey (Photos)," 11 May 2018 The 2006 graduate of the University of Arizona, majoring in English and creative writing, Pitman experienced significant life changes that in 2012 triggered an earnest attempt to create art. Milwaukee, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Exuberant art of self-proclaimed emissary of light and love, opening in West Allis," 25 Apr. 2018 Brenna Satterfeal is a freshman majoring in Special Education at Southeastern Louisiana University. Julia O'donoghue, NOLA.com, "Watch, read Gov. John Bel Edwards' 2018 special session address," 19 Feb. 2018 Crnkovich, who plans on majoring in engineering or physics, has decided not to play in college. Matt Le Cren, Naperville Sun, "The middle man: A healthy Nick Crnkovich hopes to rock the block for Benet," 27 Mar. 2018 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

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

17 Oct 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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