min·​i·​mum | \ˈmi-nə-məm \
plural minima\ -​nə-​mə \ 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from minimum

minimum adjective

Examples of minimum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Anyone who pays a minimum of $5 a month can get a short video from Pete of about 15 words, but higher tiers promise bigger scripts and private chats. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "Internet rallies around VoiceoverPete after he gets booted from Fiverr," 9 Nov. 2018 Share Local Media charges them a minimum of $15,000 for 30,000 envelopes, a cost that’s split between the companies in the mailer. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "Why so many hip startups advertise with snail mail," 1 Nov. 2018 Most orphanages have a minimum of 100 beds mandated by the government, and some are much larger. Yanan Wang And Dake Kang, Fox News, "China distances children from families to subdue Muslim west," 20 Sep. 2018 Harris could spend a minimum of 15 years in federal prison for each child pornography count if convicted. Bartie Scott, Teen Vogue, "A Man Allegedly Forced Hundreds of Teens to Send Him Nude Photos on Social Media," 6 Sep. 2018 Book today, 86 days out, and you’ll pay a minimum of $370 for flights, Google says. Paul Brady, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Time to Book Thanksgiving Airfare, According to Google Flights," 28 Aug. 2018 All 68 swimmers had to raise a minimum of $2,000 to participate in the event, the release said. Katie Camero,, "Swimmers make waves in fight against cancer in Boston Harbor event," 13 July 2018 The next bidder must offer a minimum of $39.2 million. David Lyons,, "Stalled Las Olas Ocean Resort project set for Aug. 15 bankruptcy auction," 13 July 2018 Each state will receive a minimum of $100,000 for eligible groups that help people sign up for health insurance. Ken Alltucker, USA TODAY, "Trump administration slashes funding for Obamacare outreach program," 10 July 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about minimum

Statistics for minimum

Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for minimum

The first known use of minimum was in 1646

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 \
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 \
plural minima\ -​ə-​mə \ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


noxious or harmful

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a-traditional-thanksgiving-dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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