margin

noun
mar·​gin | \ ˈmär-jən How to pronounce margin (audio) \

Definition of margin

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the part of a page or sheet outside the main body of printed or written matter
2 : the outside limit and adjoining surface of something : edge at the margin of the woods continental margin
3a : a spare amount or measure or degree allowed or given for contingencies or special situations left no margin for error
b(1) : a bare minimum below which or an extreme limit beyond which something becomes impossible or is no longer desirable on the margin of good taste
(2) : the limit below which economic activity cannot be continued under normal conditions
c : an area, state, or condition excluded from or existing outside the mainstream the margins of critical discourse— Barbara L. Packer living in society's margins
4a : the difference which exists between net sales and the cost of merchandise sold and from which expenses are usually met or profit derived
b : the excess market value of collateral over the face of a loan
c(1) : cash or collateral that is deposited by a client with a commodity or securities broker to protect the broker from loss on a contract
(2) : the client's equity in securities bought with the aid of credit obtained specifically (as from a broker) for that purpose
d : a range about a specified figure within which a purchase is to be made
5 : measure or degree of difference the bill passed by a one-vote margin

margin

verb
margined; margining; margins

Definition of margin (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to provide with an edging or border
b : to form a margin to : border
2a : to add margin to margin up an account
b(1) : to use as margin margin bonds to buy stock
(2) : to provide margin for margin a transaction
c : to buy (securities) on margin

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from margin

Noun

margined \ ˈmär-​jənd How to pronounce margined (audio) \ adjective

Examples of margin in a Sentence

Noun Please write your name in the left margin of the page. a book with wide margins Mountains lie at the city's northern margins. Verb the riverbed is margined by a flat beach of smooth rocks
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Cinebench R20—placed it within the margin of error of the older part. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "Intel Core i9-10980XE—a step forward for AI, a step back for everything else," 26 Nov. 2019 This may be his best chance since 2016, given how well Michigan is playing; the Wolverines have won their past four games by an average margin of 30.3 points. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "Big Ten power rankings: Ohio State vs. Michigan football pits 1 vs. 2," 25 Nov. 2019 So does this one: In seven losses, the Rams have been outscored in the second half by an average margin of 21-8. Sean Keeler, The Denver Post, "Keeler: Mike Bobo just became the Clay Helton of the Mountain West Conference," 23 Nov. 2019 The Cardinals and Zips went a combined 6-0 against those common opponents – Louisville won the three games by an average margin of 26 points, while Akron won each game by an average of 21. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "Here's what Louisville basketball has to do to stay undefeated as Akron comes to town," 23 Nov. 2019 Philly outscores the opposition by an average margin of 3.1 points per game with the Knicks losing by an average of 7.1 points per outing. Joe Williams, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Knicks-76ers odds: Philly favored by double digits over New York," 20 Nov. 2019 Ohio State has outscored opponents by an average margin of 51-10. Bill Rabinowitz, Cincinnati.com, "Here's what Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day had to say about facing Penn State," 20 Nov. 2019 En route to a 7-3 regular season record, six of the team’s seven victories were won by the grand total of 27 points, an average winning margin of 4.3 points. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "The Year of the Cliffhanger: Deer Park’s season full of magical moments," 14 Nov. 2019 UConn dominated the conference with an average margin of victory of 31.9 points per game — 23 points better than the next best team. Alexa Philippou, courant.com, "What went right, what went wrong for the UConn women’s basketball team in 2018-19," 1 Nov. 2019

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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1715, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for margin

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin margin-, margo border — more at mark

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about margin

Time Traveler for margin

Time Traveler

The first known use of margin was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for margin

Last Updated

29 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Margin.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/margined?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=m&file=margin02. Accessed 11 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for margin

margin

noun

Financial Definition of margin

What It Is

The term margin has two main definitions. The first refers to the ratio of profit to revenue. The second refers to money borrowed from a brokerage firm in order to leverage an investment.

How It Works

Margin as a Financial Ratio
Let's assume Company XYZ records $1 million in net income for 2008 and $10 million in sales. By using the formula described above, we can calculate that Company XYZ has a $1,000,000/$10,000,000 = 10% net profit margin. We can determine from this number that XYZ keeps 10% of the revenue it generates or for every $1 XYZ generates in revenue, it keeps $0.10 in profit.

Borrowing Money on Margin
Let's assume you have $2,500 and Company XYZ trades at $5 a share. In a regular brokerage account, you would be able to purchase 500 shares. If XYZ were to appreciate by $10, you would make $5,000 and earn a respectable 200% gain.

But with a margin account, you could essentially borrow money from the brokerage firm and collateralize the loan with the Company XYZ shares. Margin requirements for equities are normally 2 to 1 for the average investor, meaning you purchase double what your cash balance is.

With the $2,500 from the previous example, an investor with a margin account would be able to purchase $5,000 of Company XYZ or 1,000 shares. That same $10 price move would mean you now make $10,000 and earn a 300% return.

But margin is a double-edged sword, and losses are also magnified. Additionally, if the investor's equity in the account drops past a certain point, say 25% of the total purchase amount (called the maintenance margin), the brokerage firm may make a margin call, meaning that within a few days you must deposit more cash or sell some of the shares to offset all or part of the difference between the actual stock price and the maintenance margin.

Why It Matters

Financial Ratio
Margins measure efficiency. The higher the operating margin, the more profitable per dollar received a company's core business is.

Several things can affect operating margin (such as pricing strategy, prices for raw materials, or labor costs), but because these items directly relate to the day-to-day decisions managers make, operating margin is also a measure of managerial flexibility and competency.

It is also important to note that some industries have higher labor or materials costs than others. This is why comparing operating margins is generally most meaningful among companies within the same industry, and the definition of a "high" or "low" ratio should be made within this context

Borrowing Money on Margin
Margin accounts allow investors to make investments with their brokers' money. They act as leverage and can thus magnify and gains. But they can also magnify losses, and in some cases, a brokerage firm can sell an investor's securities without notification or even sue if the investor does not fulfill a margin call. For these reasons, margin accounts are generally for more sophisticated investors who understand and can handle the risks involved.

Source: Investing Answers

margin

noun
How to pronounce margin (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of margin

: the part of a page that is above, below, or to the side of the printed part
: the place where something (such as a piece of land) stops : the edge of something
: an extra amount of something (such as time or space) that can be used if it is needed

margin

noun
mar·​gin | \ ˈmär-jən How to pronounce margin (audio) \

Kids Definition of margin

1 : the part of a page or sheet outside the main body of print or writing
2 : border entry 1 sense 2 We walked along the margins of the forest.
3 : an extra amount (as of time or money) allowed for use if needed We have a margin of five minutes before the bus leaves.
4 : a measurement of difference They lost by a small margin.

Keep scrolling for more

margin

noun
mar·​gin | \ ˈmär-jən How to pronounce margin (audio) \

Medical Definition of margin

1 : the outside limit or edge of something (as a bodily part or a wound)
2 : the part of consciousness at a particular moment that is felt only vaguely and dimly

margin

noun
mar·​gin | \ ˈmär-jən How to pronounce margin (audio) \

Legal Definition of margin

1 : the difference between net sales and the cost of the merchandise sold from which expenses are usually met or profits derived
2 : the amount by which the market value of collateral is greater than the face value of a loan
3a : cash or collateral deposited in a regulated amount by a client with a broker who is financing the purchase of securities — see also regulation t
b : a deposit made with a broker by a client who is trading in futures

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on margin

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

WORD OF THE DAY

heavy with or as if with moisture

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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