mar·​gin·​al·​ize | \ˈmärj-nə-ˌlīz, ˈmär-jə-nᵊl-ˌīz\
marginalized; marginalizing

Definition of marginalize 

transitive verb

: to relegate (see relegate sense 2) to an unimportant or powerless position within a society or group We are protesting policies that marginalize women.

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from marginalize

marginalization \ ˌmärj-​nə-​lə-​ˈzā-​shən , ˌmär-​jə-​nᵊl-​ə-​ \ noun

Marginalized Writing vs. Marginalized People

Marginalize provides a striking case of how thoroughly the figurative use of a word can take over the literal one. The original (and now obsolete) meaning of this word, “to write notes in the margin of,” is analogous to the still-familiar noun marginalia “marginal notes or embellishments." A margin is, of course, the blank space surrounding the text in a book. Just prior to 1970, marginalize took on the sense that is most commonly encountered today, “to relegate to an unimportant or powerless position” (that is, to the metaphorical margins of society). This use of the word can be found as far back as 1968; an article in The Los Angeles Times from June 20th of that year reports, “[T]he Negro was kept aside, marginalized, thus composing in its large majority the chronically poor.” In its newer sense, marginalize has assumed a much more prominent place in the vocabulary than it once had.

Examples of marginalize in a Sentence

The program helps people from marginalized groups.

Recent Examples on the Web

Inch reportedly complained about being excluded from major staffing, budget and policy decisions by Sessions while also being marginalized by Kushner in the drafting of prison-reform legislation. Monique Judge, The Root, "Federal Prisons Director Was Caught in Pissing Match Between Jared Kushner and Jeff Sessions, so He Quit," 25 May 2018 Both El-Sayed and Thanedar said that since the election of Donald Trump as president, people of color have been marginalized. Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press, "Why Democratic candidates for Michigan governor want Detroit votes," 5 July 2018 The idea that anybody was marginalized based on it or had a hard time was very upsetting to me personally and professionally. Stephanie Petit,, "The Simpsons Slammed for Brushing Off Criticism Over Stereotypical Portrayal of Apu," 10 Apr. 2018 People have marginalized trans identities and non-binary identities for so long, even within the LGBTQ community. Stephen Daw, Billboard, "Lenny Zenith Talks Transphobia in the Music Industry & New Album 'What If the Sun'," 22 June 2018 Military women’s voices can be marginalized due to fear, and a woman’s voice is significant and important. Lisa Deaderick,, "Finding her voice with other veterans," 3 June 2018 Blount may be gone, but Clement proved himself too good a real-life player to marginalize. Michael Beller,, "High-Risk, High-Reward Players for the 2018 Fantasy Football Season," 10 July 2018 As in Tanzania, such circumstances are likely to further marginalize poorer internet users. Shayera Dark, The Verge, "Strict new internet laws in Tanzania are driving bloggers and content creators offline," 6 July 2018 After arcade games displaced pinball in the hearts and minds of America's youths later in the '80s, city officials passed a zoning ordinance to marginalize them. Ryan Smith, Chicago Reader, "News / Technology / The Internet Video games are public enemy #1 . . . again," 19 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'marginalize.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of marginalize

1968, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about marginalize

Share marginalize

Statistics for marginalize

Last Updated

6 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for marginalize

The first known use of marginalize was in 1968

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for marginalize



English Language Learners Definition of marginalize

: to put or keep (someone) in a powerless or unimportant position within a society or group

More from Merriam-Webster on marginalize

See words that rhyme with marginalize

Britannica English: Translation of marginalize for Arabic Speakers

Comments on marginalize

What made you want to look up marginalize? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to express warning or disapproval

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!