min·​i·​mum | \ ˈmi-nə-məm How to pronounce minimum (audio) \
plural minima\ ˈmi-​nə-​mə How to pronounce minima (audio) \ or minimums

Definition of minimum

1 : the least quantity assignable, admissible, or possible Keep expenses to a bare minimum. He was sentenced to a minimum of 10 years in prison.
2 : the least of a set of numbers specifically : the smallest value assumed by a continuous (see continuous sense 2) function defined on a closed (see closed sense 2b) interval
3a : the lowest degree or amount of variation (as of temperature) reached or recorded
b : the lowest speed allowed on a highway

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Other Words from minimum

minimum adjective

Examples of minimum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Instead, at a minimum, any player with a hangnail or blister on his thumb is slapped with the questionable tag. Bill Enright,, "Week 1 Fantasy Football Injury Report," 4 Sep. 2019 For instance, the Fermi Telescope detects many more gamma rays during solar minimum, the phase of the sun’s 11-year cycle when its magnetic field is calmest and most orderly. Quanta Magazine, "The Sun Is Stranger Than Astrophysicists Imagined," 27 Aug. 2019 So to put it in the way of the Wonderlic: If a team pays each player the minimum, how much room will that team have left under the salary cap? Rich Cohen, Harper's magazine, "The Wood Chipper," 19 Aug. 2019 Mr Trump’s recent promise to force federal agencies to buy steel with at least 95% domestic content, up from a minimum of half today, is unlikely to change things. The Economist, "American steel tariffs cut both ways for domestic producers," 8 Aug. 2019 Auditors urged them to make incremental improvements to the site, at a minimum, much more quickly., "Oregon rushes spending, double hires for positions and has opaque budget ‘transparency’ website, audit finds," 31 July 2019 Scientists have reported a nearly 13% decrease per decade in the arctic sea ice minimum, an increase in stronger, more destructive storms, and an increase in extinction and animal endangerment — all as a result of climate change. Teen Vogue, "9 Teen Climate Activists Fighting For The Future Of The Planet," 24 July 2019 The draft letter estimated that field organizers were working 60 hours per week at minimum, dropping their average hourly pay to less than $13., "Bernie Sanders campaign workers unionize, demand his promised $15-an-hour," 19 July 2019 But, Torn told Playboy magazine in 1993, he was told he'd be working for minimum, about $400 a week at the time. Dennis Mclellan,, "Rip Torn, star of ‘The Larry Sanders Show,’ dies at 88," 9 July 2019

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

1646, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for minimum

Latin, neuter of minimus smallest; akin to Latin minor smaller — more at minor

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Statistics for minimum

Last Updated

5 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for minimum

The first known use of minimum was in 1646

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More Definitions for minimum



English Language Learners Definition of minimum

: the lowest number or amount that is possible or allowed


min·​i·​mum | \ ˈmi-nə-məm How to pronounce minimum (audio) \
plural minimums or minima\ -​mə \

Kids Definition of minimum

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the lowest value : the least amount I need a minimum of two hours.



Kids Definition of minimum (Entry 2 of 2)

: being the least or lowest possible The minimum height for this ride is 42 inches.


min·​i·​mum | \ ˈmin-ə-məm How to pronounce minimum (audio) \
plural minima\ -​ə-​mə How to pronounce minima (audio) \ or minimums

Medical Definition of minimum

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the least quantity assignable, admissible, or possible
2 : the lowest degree or amount of variation (as of temperature) reached or recorded



Medical Definition of minimum (Entry 2 of 2)

: of, relating to, or constituting a minimum meet the minimum psychiatric needs of the country— E. A. Strecker establishing minimum standards for medical educationCIBA Symposia

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Comments on minimum

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


to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

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