mar·​gin | \ ˈmär-jən How to pronounce margin (audio) \

Definition of margin

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the part of a page or sheet outside the main body of printed or written matter
2 : the outside limit and adjoining surface of something : edge at the margin of the woods continental margin
3a : a spare amount or measure or degree allowed or given for contingencies or special situations left no margin for error
b(1) : a bare minimum below which or an extreme limit beyond which something becomes impossible or is no longer desirable on the margin of good taste
(2) : the limit below which economic activity cannot be continued under normal conditions
c : an area, state, or condition excluded from or existing outside the mainstream the margins of critical discourse— Barbara L. Packer living in society's margins
4a : the difference which exists between net sales and the cost of merchandise sold and from which expenses are usually met or profit derived
b : the excess market value of collateral over the face of a loan
c(1) : cash or collateral that is deposited by a client with a commodity or securities broker to protect the broker from loss on a contract
(2) : the client's equity in securities bought with the aid of credit obtained specifically (as from a broker) for that purpose
d : a range about a specified figure within which a purchase is to be made
5 : measure or degree of difference the bill passed by a one-vote margin


margined; margining; margins

Definition of margin (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to provide with an edging or border
b : to form a margin to : border
2a : to add margin to margin up an account
b(1) : to use as margin margin bonds to buy stock
(2) : to provide margin for margin a transaction
c : to buy (securities) on margin

Other Words from margin


margined \ ˈmär-​jənd How to pronounce margin (audio) \ adjective

Examples of margin in a Sentence

Noun Please write your name in the left margin of the page. a book with wide margins Mountains lie at the city's northern margins. Verb the riverbed is margined by a flat beach of smooth rocks
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The 4-point margin of defeat was their lowest since June 12, a week before their 16-game losing streak started. Wilson Moore, The Indianapolis Star, 8 Aug. 2022 The state will conduct the recount at no cost if the margin of difference between the two candidates with the most votes is 0.25% or less of the votes. Karina Elwood, Washington Post, 7 Aug. 2022 Researchers told ABC News the margin by which the vote was won was surprising. ABC News, 5 Aug. 2022 Nationwide, the Democratic margin was down 26 points among Cubans, 18 points among Puerto Ricans, 16 points among Dominicans, 12 points among Mexicans and 18 points among other Hispanic ethnicities. Ruy Teixeira, WSJ, 4 Aug. 2022 But what about counties where the margin for Trump was even higher? Ryan Huddle,, 3 Aug. 2022 Activists on both sides expected the vote to be close, but the margin was so decisive – 61%-39% – that news outlets called the result less than two hours after polls closed. Laura L. Davis, USA TODAY, 3 Aug. 2022 The margin for error is already slim even with a UF win. Josh Newman, The Salt Lake Tribune, 2 Aug. 2022 The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points. Leada Gore |, al, 1 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb This isn’t the first time Son has linked IPO mandates to margin loans. Ruth David,, 16 Feb. 2022 Many of those retail investors who entered the market turned to margin trading to make risky moves in 2020. Joe Walsh, Forbes, 6 July 2021 Factors such as product mix and revenue management, as well as better demand planning helped, and the company will now double down on segments that are accretive to margin such as e-commerce and skincare. Kevin Rozario, Forbes, 10 May 2021 Even so, Melius Research analyst Scott Davis has argued there’s no structural reason that margins can’t return to the mid-teen levels of yesteryear. Washington Post, 22 Nov. 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'margin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of margin


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1715, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for margin


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin margin-, margo border — more at mark

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Time Traveler for margin

Time Traveler

The first known use of margin was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

11 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Margin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for margin


mar·​gin | \ ˈmär-jən How to pronounce margin (audio) \

Kids Definition of margin

1 : the part of a page or sheet outside the main body of print or writing
2 : border entry 1 sense 2 We walked along the margins of the forest.
3 : an extra amount (as of time or money) allowed for use if needed We have a margin of five minutes before the bus leaves.
4 : a measurement of difference They lost by a small margin.


mar·​gin | \ ˈmär-jən How to pronounce margin (audio) \

Medical Definition of margin

1 : the outside limit or edge of something (as a bodily part or a wound)
2 : the part of consciousness at a particular moment that is felt only vaguely and dimly


mar·​gin | \ ˈmär-jən How to pronounce margin (audio) \

Legal Definition of margin

1 : the difference between net sales and the cost of the merchandise sold from which expenses are usually met or profits derived
2 : the amount by which the market value of collateral is greater than the face value of a loan
3a : cash or collateral deposited in a regulated amount by a client with a broker who is financing the purchase of securities — see also regulation t
b : a deposit made with a broker by a client who is trading in futures

More from Merriam-Webster on margin

Nglish: Translation of margin for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of margin for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about margin


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