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 borderb : 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 businessc (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 1) cultures and by incomplete assimilation (see 1assimilate 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 abilityb (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
marginalityplay \ˌmär-jə-ˈna-lə-tē\ noun
marginallyplay \ˈmärj-nə-lē, 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.
Origin and Etymology of marginal
Medieval Latin marginalis, from Latin margin-, margo
First Known Use: 1573
MARGINAL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of marginal for English Language Learners
: not very important
: very slight or small
: not included in the main part of society or of a group
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