marginal

adjective

mar·​gin·​al ˈmärj-nəl How to pronounce marginal (audio)
ˈmär-jə-nᵊl
1
: written or printed in the margin of a page or sheet
marginal notes
2
a
: of, relating to, or situated at a margin or border
b
: not of central importance
regards violence as a marginal rather than a central problem
also : limited in extent, significance, or stature
had only marginal success with the business
c(1)
: occupying the borderland of a relatively stable territorial or cultural area
marginal tribes
(2)
: characterized by the incorporation of habits and values from two divergent (see divergent sense 1) cultures and by incomplete assimilation (see assimilate entry 1 sense 2a) in either
the marginal cultural habits of new immigrant groups
(3)
: excluded from or existing outside the mainstream of society, a group, or a school of thought
marginal voters
3
: located at the fringe of consciousness
marginal sensations
4
a
: close to the lower limit of qualification, acceptability, or function : barely exceeding the minimum requirements
a semiliterate person of marginal ability
b(1)
: having a character or capacity fitted to yield a supply of goods which when marketed at existing price levels will barely cover the cost of production
marginal land
(2)
: of, relating to, or derived from goods produced and marketed with such result
marginal profits
5
: relating to or being a function of a random variable that is obtained from a function of several random variables by integrating or summing over all possible values of the other variables
a marginal probability function
marginality noun
marginally
ˈmärj-nə-lē How to pronounce marginal (audio)
ˈmär-jə-nᵊl-ē
adverb

Examples of marginal in a Sentence

There has been only a marginal improvement in her condition. His reading and writing abilities are marginal.
Recent Examples on the Web However, research from economic professors at UC Berkeley and the University of Victoria argues the data from past minimum wage gains hardly affected fast-food chains, helped retain workers and price increases were marginal. Phillip Molnar, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Apr. 2024 More than 30 millions others, from Arizona to Pennsylvania, were under marginal and slight risk of experiencing intense storm conditions. Christopher Cann, USA TODAY, 1 Apr. 2024 General Motors’ Super Cruise in the GMC Sierra and Nissan’s Pro-Pilot Assist with Navi-Link in the Ariya electric vehicle were rated marginal. Tom Krisher, Fortune, 12 Mar. 2024 General Motors' Super Cruise in the GMC Sierra and Nissan's Pro-Pilot Assist with Navi-Link in the Ariya electric vehicle were rated marginal. Tom Krisher, Quartz, 12 Mar. 2024 And despite pressure from Washington, Israel appears to be doubling down on its current short-term approach, planning a major operation in the city of Rafah that would offer only marginal military gains but would exacerbate Gaza’s humanitarian crisis and further diminish Israel’s reputation. Daniel Byman, Foreign Affairs, 5 Apr. 2024 Today, Delorean prices vary widely, with marginal value gains. Hannah Elliott, Fortune, 2 Apr. 2024 The game has added importance for the black and yellow club given its marginal one point lead over RB Leipzig in the race for 4th place, and the final UEFA EFA -0.2% Champions League qualifying spot. Vitas Carosella, Forbes, 29 Mar. 2024 His mom showed only marginal relief at switching languages. Lily Meyer, The Atlantic, 25 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'marginal.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Medieval Latin marginalis, from Latin margin-, margo

First Known Use

1573, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of marginal was in 1573

Dictionary Entries Near marginal

Cite this Entry

“Marginal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/marginal. Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

marginal

adjective
mar·​gin·​al ˈmärj-nəl How to pronounce marginal (audio)
-ən-ᵊl
1
: written or printed in the margin
marginal notes
2
: of, relating to, or situated at a margin or border
3
: close to the lower limit of quality
marginal ability
marginal land
marginally
-nə-lē How to pronounce marginal (audio)
-ən-ᵊl-ē
adverb

Medical Definition

marginal

adjective
mar·​gin·​al ˈmärj-nəl, -ən-ᵊl How to pronounce marginal (audio)
1
: of, relating to, or situated at a margin or border
2
: located at the fringe of consciousness
marginal sensations

More from Merriam-Webster on marginal

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