mar·​gin·​al·​ize | \ ˈmärj-nə-ˌlīz How to pronounce marginalize (audio) , 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 How to pronounce marginalization (audio) , 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 On its own, many fans with blind loyalty to the program would try to marginalize the account of Johnson-Koulianos. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Opinion: As accusations from players pile up, Kirk Ferentz appears ill-equipped to push for change," 9 June 2020 Omar Turbi, a Libyan commentator with close contacts in the east, says the UN must not marginalize political voices in Eastern Libya. Tim Lister, Sam Kiley And Sebastian Shukla, CNN, "Russia raises stakes with 'brazen' military intervention in Libyan conflict," 9 June 2020 India Ramya Vijaya, Stockton University For two months before the coronavirus outbreak, India had seen sustained nationwide protests against the efforts by the Hindu Nationalist ruling party to marginalize religious minorities. Paul Friesen, The Conversation, "Coronavirus versus democracy: 5 countries where emergency powers risk abuse," 6 Apr. 2020 One of the spaces where that debate can emerge, especially among those who are marginalized or less able to speak within the media, is the street. Jennifer Billock, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Street Artists Around the World Are Reacting to Life With COVID-19," 24 Apr. 2020 Opponents have warned that the legislation discriminates against a marginalized community. USA TODAY, "Native Hawaiian princess, beer bandits, flaming hand sanitizer: News from around our 50 states," 11 Mar. 2020 Among the company’s primary business objectives in 2020 is furthering access to homeownership opportunities for historically marginalized communities. Dallas News, "Ebby Halliday Companies celebrates 75 years of service," 23 Feb. 2020 In fact, Kennedy’s efforts to reach Black people came up last fall with a growing number of members of the scientific community concerned about the efforts of Kennedy and other anti-vaxxers to reach marginalized communities. Michael Arceneaux, Essence, "How Did The Anti-Vaxx Movement Reach The ‘Love And Hip Hop’ Crowd?," 28 Jan. 2020 Food justice: An event devoted to food sovereignty, an organizing concept to create a sustainable, culturally appropriate food supply for historically marginalized communities., "Bay Area political events: Congressional town halls, Walk for Life," 23 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for marginalize

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The first known use of marginalize was in 1968

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Last Updated

16 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Marginalize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for marginalize


How to pronounce marginalize (audio)

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with marginalize

Britannica English: Translation of marginalize for Arabic Speakers

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