plural noun
mar·​gi·​na·​lia | \ ˌmär-jə-ˈnā-lē-ə How to pronounce marginalia (audio) \

Definition of marginalia

1 : marginal notes or embellishments (as in a book)
2 : nonessential items the meat and marginalia of American politicsSaturday Rev.

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Where does marginalia come from?

We don't consider a word's etymology to be marginalia, so we'll start off by telling you the etymology of this one. Marginalia is a New Latin word that can be traced back to the Latin forms margin- and margo, meaning "margin." Marginalia is a relatively new word; our earliest evidence of its use is from 1819. The related adjective marginal is quite a bit older; it was first used in 1573. On the other end of the spectrum is another relative, marginalize. That word was first used in 1970.

Examples of marginalia in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

These journal entries are sometimes incidental to a fault, lapsing at one point into marginalia about Ms. Morris’s bowel habits. Danny Heitman, WSJ, "‘In My Mind’s Eye’ Review: Marching Through the Days," 4 Jan. 2019 The edition is full of marginalia indicating that Ronald took a trip through the Veneto with this book, making notes about the 16th century architecture that dominates that region. David Netto, Town & Country, "Is Heron Bay in Barbados the Most Exquisite House in the World?," 4 May 2018 Leading writers have striven to explain these marginalia as progressive. Michael Marissen, New York Times, "Bach Was Far More Religious Than You Might Think," 30 Mar. 2018

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

1819, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for marginalia

New Latin, from Medieval Latin, neuter plural of marginalis

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Time Traveler for marginalia

The first known use of marginalia was in 1819

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