mi·​nor | \ ˈmī-nər How to pronounce minor (audio) \

Definition of minor

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : inferior in importance, size, or degree : comparatively unimportant a minor artist
2 : not having reached majority (see majority sense 2) He is the father of minor children.
3a : having half steps between the second and third, the fifth and sixth, and sometimes the seventh and eighth degrees minor scale
b : based on a minor scale minor key
c : less by a semitone than the corresponding major interval minor third
d : having a minor third above the root minor triad
4 : not serious or involving risk to life minor illness
5 : of or relating to an academic subject requiring fewer courses than a major his minor subjects for his M.A. were plant ecology and entomologyCurrent Biography



Definition of minor (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a person who is not yet old enough to have the rights of an adult
2 : a minor musical interval, scale, key, or mode
3a : a minor academic subject
b : a student taking a specified minor
4 : a determinant or matrix obtained from a given determinant or matrix by eliminating the row and column in which a given element lies
5 minors plural : minor league baseball used with the


minored; minoring; minors

Definition of minor (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to take courses in a minor subject

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Synonyms & Antonyms for minor

Synonyms: Adjective

inferior, junior, less, lesser, lower, smaller, subordinate

Antonyms: Adjective

greater, higher, major, more, primary, prime, senior, superior, superordinate

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Examples of minor in a Sentence


Her role in the project was minor. I'm not worried about minor details. The grant covered only a minor part of the cost. The delay will be minor. He suffered a minor heart attack.


families with children who are still minors The nightclub was shut down for selling alcohol to a minor. She majored in chemistry with a minor in biology.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The victim suffered minor injuries, authorities said. Washington Post, "Suspect sought in attack on deaf woman," 31 Aug. 2019 Two firefighters sustained minor injuries in the blaze, the statement said. Alyssa Lukpat, BostonGlobe.com, "Workers cutting metal ignited 3-alarm blaze that destroyed Lawrence home," 29 Aug. 2019 As camp progressed, Beaudry appeared to separate himself (as Leon sat with a minor injury), but coach Randy Edsall continued to hold off on naming a starter. Alex Putterman, courant.com, "Mike Beaudry is UConn’s starting quarterback. But can he keep the job?," 29 Aug. 2019 Two cases of minor burn injuries have been reported. Doug Criss, CNN, "More than 26,000 glass cooktops have been recalled because they can turn themselves on," 29 Aug. 2019 The suspect was treated for minor burn injuries at the scene and then taken into custody, said sheriff’s Sgt. Marin Independent Journal, The Mercury News, "73-year old man arrested for allegedly starting with Marin wildfire," 28 Aug. 2019 Two of its officers suffered what were described as minor injuries and were going to be examined at a local hospital, Riverside police Major Matthew Sturgeon said. Phil Helsel, NBC News, "2 killed in crash with stolen police cruiser in Dayton," 27 Aug. 2019 Three other laborers suffered minor injuries, fire officials said. Rebecca Liebson, New York Times, "7 Relatives Worked at a Construction Site. Then Came a Deadly Collapse.," 27 Aug. 2019 The two people struck were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Stephanie Butzer, The Denver Post, "Denver police searching for driver who crashed into group of people, fled the scene," 26 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The event is open to all ages but minors must be accompanied by an adult. Slade Rand, courant.com, "Community day is on for Dillon Stadium in Hartford today," 22 Aug. 2019 There is an exception for those under 18, as minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian throughout the audition. al, "‘American Idol’ auditions are Tuesday at GulfQuest -- but don’t go there," 19 Aug. 2019 In recent days, Premier Giuseppe Conte had written to Interior Minister Matteo Salvini demanding that minors be allowed off the boat. BostonGlobe.com, "Indian authorities begin easing clampdown in Kashmir," 18 Aug. 2019 Immigration advocates complained the minors were not allowed to hug and had limited access to phones to call their parents. Rosa Flores, CNN, "Unaccompanied minors removed from controversial Homestead, Florida facility," 3 Aug. 2019 The allegation under investigation follows several other reports of misconduct and abuse by CBP officers against minors detained in border stations. NBC News, "Migrant child alleges she was 'beaten and abused' at Clint, Texas border station," 25 July 2019 Along with Sneed, the team’s usual candidates for call-ups from the minors either are hurt or cannot be recalled because they had been sent down within the last 10 days. Hunter Atkins, Houston Chronicle, "Setback to Astros starter Brad Peacock upends rotation," 14 July 2019 Because of court restrictions on the amount of time that minors can be held in immigration jails, parents who arrive with a child are typically issued a court appointment and released into the interior of the United States. Nick Miroff, Anchorage Daily News, "Border arrests drop as Mexico crackdown appears to cut crossings," 10 July 2019 Once at the border, unaccompanied minors are taken into custody by the Department of Homeland Security before being turned over to the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Holly V. Hays, Indianapolis Star, "'They have a right to be children': How border crisis' young victims find peace in Indiana," 8 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Most Auburn students minoring in German are engineering majors. USA TODAY, "Crystal Cathedral reborn Catholic, 'Conjuring' house, Wiki ‘editathon’: News from around our 50 states," 11 July 2019 In 1948 George graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Tufts College (now University), majoring in biology and chemistry, minoring in physics. Sun-Sentinel.com, "Deaths in South Florida: 7/13," 13 July 2018 Lazaro, who majored in Sports Management and minored in Marketing, graduated from FIU on April 28. Walter Villa, miamiherald, "In a year in which FIU baseball swept UM, find out which Panther shocked a Canes star," 29 May 2018 But the book will also contain Ben's perspective; though now a skilled woodworker, Ben actually majored in history and minored in English and creative writing. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Golly, Y'all! Home Town's Erin and Ben Napier Just Scored Their First Book Deal," 29 Mar. 2018 Yet virtually all of them matriculated to college, with 30 percent at top 100 national universities, and 85 percent majoring or minoring in computer science. Christina Lewis, The Root, "Change Your Life by Celebrating Failure," 19 Mar. 2018 Clark started his radio career in 1945 after minoring in radio at Syracuse. Matthew Glenesk, Indianapolis Star, "IndyStar 2018 NCAA tournament celebrity alumni bracket," 12 Mar. 2018 Hefner graduated in 1949 and also double-minored in creative writing and art. Kate Beckman, Cosmopolitan, "15 Things You Never Knew About Hugh Hefner," 25 June 2015 T-Bob graduated from LSU with a degree in general studies, but he also may have minored in general mayhem. Ron Higgins, NOLA.com, "When is more information TMI? T-Bob Hebert asks, no ifs, ands, or butts ...," 9 Aug. 2017

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


1526, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1612, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1926, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for minor

Adjective and Noun

Latin, smaller, inferior; akin to Old High German minniro smaller, Latin minuere to lessen

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Learn More about minor

Dictionary Entries near minor



mino bird




minor axis

Statistics for minor

Last Updated

2 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for minor

The first known use of minor was in 1526

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More Definitions for minor



English Language Learners Definition of minor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: not very important or valuable
: small in number, quantity, or extent
: not very serious : not causing much trouble or damage



English Language Learners Definition of minor (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who is not yet old enough to have the rights of an adult
US : a second subject studied by a college or university student in addition to a main subject


mi·​nor | \ ˈmī-nər How to pronounce minor (audio) \

Kids Definition of minor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : not great in size, importance, or seriousness minor details a minor injury
2 : of or relating to a musical scale having the third tone lowered a half step



Kids Definition of minor (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person too young to have the full rights of an adult


mi·​nor | \ ˈmī-nər How to pronounce minor (audio) \

Medical Definition of minor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: not serious or involving risk to life minor illness a minor operation — compare major



Medical Definition of minor (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person of either sex under the age of legal qualification for adult rights and responsibilities that has traditionally been 21 in the United States but is now 18 in many states or sometimes less under certain circumstances (as marriage or pregnancy)

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Legal Definition of minor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person who has not yet reached the age of majority — compare adult, juvenile, major



Legal Definition of minor (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : being less important or serious a minor official a minor offense
b : involving, relating to, or dealing with less important matters
2 : having the status of a minor minor children

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More from Merriam-Webster on minor

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with minor

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for minor

Spanish Central: Translation of minor

Nglish: Translation of minor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of minor for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about minor

Comments on minor

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


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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