mar·​gin·​al·​ized ˈmärj-nə-ˌlīzd How to pronounce marginalized (audio)
: relegated to a marginal position within a society or group
Refugees are the world's quintessentially marginalized population: They are by definition located at the edge, beyond boundaries, on the outside.Tamar Mayer
… the domination and oppression of women and other marginalized groups within patriarchal culture.Susan M. Squier

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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 marginalized in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There are also the more intangible factors, some of which include cultural biases that can negatively affect the compensation of marginalized groups. Roxane Gay, New York Times, 30 Mar. 2024 For marginalized groups, the precariousness is heightened. Ebony Flake, Essence, 26 Mar. 2024 The provision of life-saving treatment to a marginalized community should not be determined by the balance sheet. Varun Kapur, The Mercury News, 13 Mar. 2024 Daniel Oppong, founder of The Courage Collective, a consultancy that advises companies on DEI, said DEI was created because marginalized communities have not always had equal opportunities for jobs, or felt a sense of belonging in majority-White corporate settings. Nicquel Terry Ellis, CNN, 11 Mar. 2024 Imagine if more men in leadership positions would take the risk of publicly supporting those in marginalized groups, the world would be a better place. Teresa Hopke, Forbes, 29 Feb. 2024 Overall, a holistic approach combining regulatory measures, investment in sustainable infrastructure and targeted support for marginalized communities are essential to combat climate change and its disparate impacts in California. The San Diego Union-Tribune Staff, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Feb. 2024 Counties receive funds based on formulas with few restrictions and are required to design programs and spend the funds by involving people living with serious mental illness and their families, including those from marginalized communities. Clare Cortright, The Mercury News, 24 Feb. 2024 The quality of healthcare data is notoriously flawed and biased, especially in EMR/EHR data where incomplete data can lead to poorer outcomes and an inability to predict disease progression for marginalized communities. Ariel Katz, Forbes, 21 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'marginalized.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1969, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of marginalized was in 1969

Dictionary Entries Near marginalized

Cite this Entry

“Marginalized.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

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