min·​im ˈmi-nəm How to pronounce minim (audio)
: something very minute
: a unit of capacity equal to ¹/₆₀ fluid dram see Weights and Measures Table
minim adjective

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Like the more common minimum, minim derives from the Latin word minimus, meaning "least" or "smallest." Musicians were the first to note its significance in the 15th century as a word for the half note. Chirographers soon adopted it as a word for a single downstroke in penmanship (such as any of the three in the letter m), and after careful analysis, apothecaries prescribed minim as a word for their smallest unit of liquid capacity. English speakers have also embraced minim as a general noun referring to things that are very small and as an adjective meaning "of the smallest size," as in "a minim amount."

Word History


Latin minimus least

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of minim was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near minim

Cite this Entry

“Minim.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


min·​im ˈmin-əm How to pronounce minim (audio)
: a unit of capacity equal to ¹⁄₆₀ fluid dram see measure

Medical Definition


min·​im ˈmin-əm How to pronounce minim (audio)
: either of two units of capacity equal to ¹/₆₀ fluid dram:
: a United States unit of liquid capacity equivalent to 0.003760 cubic inch or 0.061610 milliliter
: a British unit of liquid capacity and dry measure equivalent to 0.003612 cubic inch or 0.059194 milliliter

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