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.

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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

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 Instead, the decision to marginalize the League and 5 Star has already radicalized their positions and polarized Italian public opinion. Francesco Ronchi, WSJ, "Italy’s Crisis—and Europe’s," 29 May 2018 High tension power lines and freight rails lined the levees, while prisons and other facilities the city wanted to marginalize were sited along the banks. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "The Death and Birth of the Los Angeles River," 21 May 2018 Living your truth that way gives you power, and his story is going to mean so much to people who are marginalized. Pamela Adlon, Time, "Tab Hunter Was a Model Of Kindness in Hollywood," 12 July 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.

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First Known Use of marginalize

1968, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for marginalize

The first known use of marginalize was in 1968

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English Language Learners Definition of marginalize

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

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Britannica English: Translation of marginalize for Arabic Speakers

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


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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