marginal

adjective
mar·​gin·​al | \ ˈmärj-nəl, ˈmär-jə-nᵊl\

Definition of marginal

1 : written or printed in the margin of a page or sheet marginal notes
2a : 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
4a : 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

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Other Words from marginal

marginality \ ˌmär-​jə-​ˈna-​lə-​tē \ noun
marginally \ ˈmärj-​nə-​lē , ˈmär-​jə-​nᵊl-​ē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for marginal

Synonyms

borderline, frontier

Antonyms

interior

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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

The differences in performance range from marginal to noticeable. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Evidence continues to mount about how bad Denuvo is for PC gaming performance," 26 Dec. 2018 Republicans in Ohio have cut the state income tax by 16% across the board and reduced the top marginal rate to 4.997% from 5.925%. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Battle of the Statehouses," 23 Oct. 2018 According to the specifications, the EcoSport holds a marginal lead over the Kona for cargo capacity, with 20.9 cubic feet and 19.2 cubic feet, respectively. Mark Takahashi, Edmunds, USA TODAY, "Edmunds compares subcompact crossover SUVs Hyundai Kona and Ford EcoSport," 29 June 2018 According to the specifications, the EcoSport holds a marginal lead over the Kona for cargo capacity, with 20.9 cubic feet and 19.2 cubic feet, respectively. Washington Post, "Edmunds compares Hyundai Kona and Ford EcoSport," 27 June 2018 With advances in post-transplant care, surgeons are increasingly able to transplant organs previously considered marginal. Ted Alcorn, Vox, "Thousands of organs are lost before they can be donated. Here’s how to save them.," 23 Apr. 2018 Moreover, other artists who were earlier considered marginal are now part of the picture. Thomas Hine, Philly.com, "Art Museum show gives American Modernists - and Philly ones - new respect," 12 Apr. 2018 When Nixon visited in 1972, China’s economy was marginal to world trade. Maurice R. Greenberg, WSJ, "Some Friendly Advice for China’s Leaders," 21 Aug. 2018 But her place in the pantheon of important twentieth-century British novelists, even of rediscovered women authors such as Elizabeth Taylor and Rosamond Lehmann, is marginal and precarious. Sari Botton, Longreads, "Balancing the Books," 15 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'marginal.' 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 marginal

1573, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for marginal

Medieval Latin marginalis, from Latin margin-, margo

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Statistics for marginal

Last Updated

13 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for marginal

The first known use of marginal was in 1573

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More Definitions for marginal

marginal

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of marginal

: not very important

: very slight or small

: not included in the main part of society or of a group

marginal

adjective
mar·​gin·​al | \ ˈmärj-nəl, -ən-ᵊl \

Medical Definition of marginal

1 : of, relating to, or situated at a margin or border
2 : located at the fringe of consciousness marginal sensations

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More from Merriam-Webster on marginal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for marginal

Spanish Central: Translation of marginal

Nglish: Translation of marginal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of marginal for Arabic Speakers

Comments on marginal

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to gather or build up little by little

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