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 3b) 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 Though coronavirus cases have skyrocketed in certain areas of the Pac-12, Oregon State has kept its positives to a minimum. oregonlive, "If it’s safe, Oregon State athletic director Scott Barnes would like football this fall, as spring has ‘so many complications’," 10 July 2020 Japan made the rule to keep coronavirus droplets to a minimum. Arlene Martinez, USA TODAY, "In CA: She dreamed of prepping baby formula with the ease of a coffee maker. So she did," 9 July 2020 The treatment runs contrary to current jail policies designed to keep the spread of coronavirus to a minimum. Sophie Carson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee police booked activist Vaun Mayes into jail despite coronavirus policies to do that only with violent offenders," 2 July 2020 Try to keep distractions to a minimum because this won’t be five minutes and done. Essence, "Jump The Broom," 1 July 2020 The law also raises the fine from $75 to a minimum of $1,000. Kevin Bessler, Washington Examiner, "Stiffer penalties go into effect in Illinois for distracted driving," 1 July 2020 The company also increased wages by $2 in warehouses, to a minimum of $17 per hour, to get new workers in the door. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "COVID-19 spread 4X faster in one Amazon warehouse than local area," 30 June 2020 This may help preserve your relationship while keeping hot-button topics to a minimum. Lynn Saladino,, "How to Manage Disappointment and Anger During COVID-19, According to a Psychologist," 29 June 2020 Shale explorers, which were already slashing frack work late last year amid shareholder pressure to spend less, brought activity to a minimum as oil prices plunged below zero in April. Washington Post, "Microsoft plans to close all but four retail stores," 26 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for minimum

Time Traveler

The first known use of minimum was in 1646

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Statistics for minimum

Last Updated

28 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

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

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More Definitions for minimum


How to pronounce minimum (audio)

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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