major

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

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, tennis, or bowling

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 How to pronounce Major (audio) \

Definition of Major (Entry 4 of 4)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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 But will major insurance companies pay for whole genome screening? Lee Roop | Lroop@al.com, al, "Now 4 years old, Alabama genomic medicine clinic is changing lives," 24 Nov. 2019 Under mounting pressure from protesters and climate-conscious investors, major industrial companies and governments are experimenting with what’s called green hydrogen. William Wilkes, Washington Post, "How ‘Green Hydrogen’ Could Make ‘Green Steel’ Real," 23 Nov. 2019 Such a shift poses an existential threat to major oil companies. Cara Daggett, The Conversation, "Fight or switch? How the low-carbon transition is disrupting fossil fuel politics," 22 Nov. 2019 Port tenants include major companies such as Boeing and Standard Aero and numerous startups. Randy Diamond, ExpressNews.com, "Port San Antonio OKs tech center, partnership with Cisneros firm," 21 Nov. 2019 Its use has since been discontinued by most major companies, but diacetyl is still used in some flavors for electronic cigarettes. Dave Quinn, PEOPLE.com, "Canadian Teen Gets 'Popcorn-Lung' Illness from Vaping," 21 Nov. 2019 This is a major event which will have huge intellectual and policy legacies. John Pickrell, Science | AAAS, "Massive Australian blazes will ‘reframe our understanding of bushfire’," 20 Nov. 2019 Popeyes Popeyes is offering four major deals this fast food holiday season. Madeline Mitchell, Cincinnati.com, "It's National Fast Food Day. Here's where to find the best deals.," 16 Nov. 2019 Many providers are moving more information to the cloud to cut the cost of server maintenance and leverage the security expertise of major technology companies. Casey Ross, STAT, "In a ‘Wild West’ environment, hospitals differ sharply in what patient data they give Google," 15 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Pandora cut deals with the three majors, but not with BMG. Ed Christman, Billboard, "Competing Publishing Industry Wishes, Concerns Give DOJ Plenty to Ponder In Consent Decree Review," 20 Nov. 2019 The 29-year-old led the AL with a career-best 2.50 ERA and was first in the majors with 326 strikeouts in the regular season. Washington Post, "Correa HR in 11th as Astros top Yankees 3-2; ALCS tied at 1," 14 Oct. 2019 The 29-year-old led the AL with a career-best 2.50 ERA and was first in the majors with 326 strikeouts in the regular season. Kristie Rieken, The Denver Post, "Carlos Correa homers in 11th as Astros top Yankees to tie ALCS at 1-1," 14 Oct. 2019 The 29-year-old led the AL with a career-best 2.50 ERA and was first in the majors with 326 strikeouts in the regular season. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Correa HR in 11th as Astros top Yankees 3-2; ALCS tied at 1," 13 Oct. 2019 The Astros enter October with a formidable offense, one that is somehow both third in the majors in home runs and has also struck out the fewest times, and the most overwhelming top three starters anyone can remember. Ben Reiter, SI.com, "How the Astros Nabbed Zack Greinke and Built a Postseason Rotation for the Ages," 1 Oct. 2019 The Twins finished 28th in the majors in home runs that year. Noah Trister, Twin Cities, "Twins came from out of nowhere to set home run record," 2 Sep. 2019 No homers but lots of hits The A’s entered Saturday sixth in the majors with 195 home runs. Jeff Faraudo, The Mercury News, "Takeways: A’s prove they belong with Astros," 17 Aug. 2019 The move comes in an attempt to revive the Phillies' inconsistent offense, which ranks 19th in the majors in runs scored (557), 24th in batting average (.245) and 22nd in OPS (.738). Scott Boeck, USA TODAY, "Struggling Phillies shake up coaching staff, naming ex-manager Charlie Manuel hitting coach," 14 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Assaulted again After graduating from Destiny High School, White enrolled in Milwaukee Area Technical College, majoring in human services. Angela Peterson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'I can overcome what I've been through': A Milwaukee survivor of childhood sexual abuse shares her story," 5 Nov. 2019 Miami University of Ohio – Jack Jividen, from Medina received a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Liberal Studies. Sam Boyer, cleveland, "College Corner Medina County," 31 Oct. 2019 Pereira completed his basic studies and obtained a university degree in his 50s, majoring in Ticuna language studies. Washington Post, "Married priests, saviors of the faith or part of an agenda?," 4 Oct. 2019 Smyth founded the Blacksmith brand in 1991 while attending Atlanta’s Morehouse College as a majoring in marketing. Gail Mitchell, Billboard, "Corey Smyth Launches Blacksmith Recordings with Capitol Music Group and Motown Records: Exclusive," 25 July 2019 While in Lexington, Timmons caught 112 passes for 1,254 yards and five touchdowns as a member of the University of Kentucky football team and majored in community and leadership development. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "Ex-University of Kentucky wide receiver beats 'The Freeze' at Atlanta Braves game," 20 July 2019 Lueck is enrolled part time at the university, majoring in kinesiology and pre-nursing and minoring in health. Phil Helsel, NBC News, "Police release last known images of missing Utah college student, ask for tips," 26 June 2019 After working at a draftsman in Orange County, Ruiz enrolled at Cal State L.A. to major in engineering but quickly found himself on academic probation. Gustavo Arellano, latimes.com, "Raul Ruiz, journalist and activist for the Chicano movement in L.A., dies at 78," 15 June 2019 Gross is majoring in early childhood education and is a 2016 graduate of Medina High School. Sam Boyer, cleveland, "College Corner Medina County," 31 Oct. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about major

Time Traveler for major

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for major

Last Updated

28 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Major.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/majored. Accessed 7 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for major

major

adjective
How to pronounce Major (audio)

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 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

Keep scrolling for more

major

noun
ma·​jor

Legal Definition of major

: a person who has attained majority — compare minor

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on major

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for major

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with major

Spanish Central: Translation of major

Nglish: Translation of major for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of major for Arabic Speakers

Comments on major

What made you want to look up major? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

the study of flags

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!