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

Guerra, 30, was signed as a minor-league free agent last December and pitched in the Brewers’ spring camp. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Is Brewers' Christian Yelich worried about HR Derby ruining his swing? 'Not in the slightest.'," 4 July 2019 Scholl says only minor details are left, including obtaining death certificates and having a tent placed at her burial site for those wanting to view her final services. Deanese Williams-harris, chicagotribune.com, "Raising money for her own funeral, Peoria woman with cancer stunned by amount of donations," 25 June 2019 The photo is an original of the 1914 Baltimore Orioles minor-league team, who Ruth played for before breaking into the Majors with the Boston Red Sox that same year as a pitcher. Marc Bona, cleveland.com, "Cleveland sports items top $65,000 at auction; Ruth photo sets record," 24 June 2019 Just a few minor details remain, but she is worried. Delaney Strunk, CNN, "How a diversity prom allows LGBTQ students to be their authentic selves," 23 June 2019 The Lightning received journeyman minor-league goalie Marek Mazanec and two draft picks in the deal, including a conditional 2020 first-round selection. John Wawrow, baltimoresun.com, "P.K. Subban trade overshadows second day of NHL draft; Caps take two forwards, one defenseman," 22 June 2019 The Detroit Tigers have put minor-league pitcher Casey Mize on the seven-day injured list -- and likely were relatively happy about it. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al.com, "Atlanta Braves’ Josh Donaldson makes move in MLB All-Star voting," 17 June 2019 Don't get bogged down by minor details or aggravations. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive.com, "Horoscope for June 10, 2019: Don’t get bogged down, Cancer; Pisces, use proven techniques," 10 June 2019 As a part of the presentation, an image was shown on the screen that looks extraordinarily close to the camo'd EUV aside from some minor details and a lack of Chevy badging. Daniel Golson, Car and Driver, "The 2021 Chevrolet Bolt EUV Will Be GM's Next Electric Car," 21 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And Grandpa Eddie was a pro baseball player, never quite cracking the majors but good enough to room with baseball great Dusty Baker in the minors. Dave Hyde, sun-sentinel.com, "Hyde: Coco Gauff’s magic carpet ride at Wimbledon brings her Delray family along | Commentary," 6 July 2019 Vilade soaked in those environments as a youngster, prior to being drafted in the second round in 2017 by Colorado and prior to showing advanced maturity through his first three seasons in the minors. Kyle Newman, The Denver Post, "Rockies infield prospect Ryan Vilade focused on the details — and the game’s bigger picture — with Class-A Advanced Lancaster," 4 July 2019 President Barack Obama also created a program to reduce the number of unaccompanied minors from Central America. Steve Chapman, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Julián Castro knows criminalizing immigration is a failure," 28 June 2019 And that is Crawford, Kelenic, Kukechi, White, Juilo Rodriguez, Kyle Lewis, and a few young pitchers in the minors. Seattle Times Staff, The Seattle Times, "‘They can leave just as fast as they can come’: The best comments this week on seattletimes.com," 28 June 2019 The district has provided teachers to two other shelters for unaccompanied minors in the county: Catholic Charities’ Msgr. Aaron Leibowitz, miamiherald, "Harsh prison or cushy camp? Ex-staffers have different takes on life at Homestead shelter," 11 July 2018 In other words, the kids hadn’t yet been taken into custody by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which places separated minors in shelters and facilities all over the country. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "The Trump administration says it has reunited more than 500 families. One legal group in Texas has confirmed 4 cases.," 26 June 2018 The 9-year-old is being held at Heartland Alliance, an organization that operates shelters for unaccompanied minors in the Chicago area, Bless said. Akilah Johnson, BostonGlobe.com, "Lawyer for Brazilian woman separated from child heading to Chicago in attempt to retrieve boy," 25 June 2018 As of June 20, their statement said, there were 2,053 separated minors in government custody. Miriam Jordan, New York Times, "Torn Apart by Zero Tolerance, Kept Apart by Red Tape," 24 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Additionally, Rose is charged with three misdemeanors: reckless endangerment, attempt to elude and minor in possession of alcohol. Ashley Remkus, AL.com, "Athens man accused of attacking ex-wife, kidnapping their 10-month-old baby during home break-in," 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

8 Jul 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

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to form ideas or theories about something

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