marginal

adjective
mar·​gin·​al | \ ˈmärj-nəl How to pronounce marginal (audio) , 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 How to pronounce marginality (audio) \ noun
marginally \ ˈmärj-​nə-​lē How to pronounce marginally (audio) , 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

So to get actual wind turbines to blossom in the Southeast, the generators themselves have to see their prices shrink further and get better at harnessing more marginal sources of wind. Umair Irfan, Vox, "4 maps that show who’s being left behind in America’s wind-power boom," 28 Mar. 2019 Most other countries have only a marginal impact on the market. David Mcintosh, WSJ, "No New Nafta Until Tariffs Have Been Lifted," 9 Dec. 2018 Paying off accusers was a marginal cost of doing business, even if the price tag was in the tens of millions. Laura Mcgann, Vox, "Bill Shine covered up sexual harassment at Fox News for decades until the plot blew up in his face," 5 July 2018 But for all of its efforts, the gains have been marginal for the governing party, which appears to be limping toward a crushing defeat this July. Danny Hakim, New York Times, "Mexico’s Hardball Politics Get Even Harder as PRI Fights to Hold On to Power," 24 June 2018 Daley hoped Divvy would help relieve traffic congestion and curb air pollution, but research has shown that bike-sharing rides only have a marginal impact on congestion. Ryan Smith, Chicago Reader, "Divvy at 5: Chicago’s bike share is better than ever," 18 June 2018 According to a recent report from market research firm Lazard on the leveled cost of energy, building new renewable energy is currently cheaper than paying marginal costs for many coal plants. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Trump tried to rescue coal. Instead, coal capacity retirements doubled in 2018," 29 Nov. 2018 The Italian financial daily il Sole 24 Ore reported that the deposits made by the 14 countries into the French Treasury had marginal impact on French coffers, totalling 10 billion euros — or just 0.5 percent of the French public debt. Colleen Barry, The Seattle Times, "Italy’s Salvini lashes out at Macron as ‘terrible president’," 22 Jan. 2019 Lindsay emphasized this point in our phone call, noting his personal support for significantly higher marginal tax rates on the wealthy. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The controversy around hoax studies in critical theory, explained," 15 Oct. 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

7 Apr 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 How to pronounce marginal (audio) \

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

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