minimal pair


Definition of minimal pair

: two linguistic units that differ in a single distinctive feature or constituent (such as voice in the initial consonants of bat and pat)

Examples of minimal pair in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Sixty-nine percent of you voted for Balmain’s crystal-embellished style over Dries Van Noten’s slimmer and minimal pair. Vogue, "The Most Popular Shoes of 2018, According to You, Our Instagram Followers," 19 Dec. 2018 This minimal pair is like a universal donor, looking right at home next to every style of sofa, from contemporary tuxedo to traditional Chesterfield. Joanna Linberg, Sunset, "10 Winning Side-Table Styling Ideas," 22 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'minimal pair.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of minimal pair

1942, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for minimal pair

Time Traveler

The first known use of minimal pair was in 1942

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Cite this Entry

“Minimal pair.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Oct. 2020.

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