mi·​nor | \ˈmī-nər \

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 officers also had a search warrant that said the underwear of a minor child who had been assaulted might be found in the son’s bedroom. Jeffrey Collins, The Seattle Times, "2nd police officer dies after South Carolina ambush attack," 23 Oct. 2018 That meant either Trump continued that old policy of catch and release, family units caught entering the country illegally, or parents were detained separately from their minor children, because the children had to be released. Fox News, "Ingraham: When the inmates run the immigration asylum," 26 July 2018 The Coast Guard, in a release, said all on board were reported to have received minor injuries but otherwise were in good condition. Time, "All 11 People on Board Survived Alaska Plane Crash, Coast Guard Says," 11 July 2018 As a result, parents with minor children were not a priority for criminal prosecution. NBC News, "Separated from son, one migrant mom takes on the feds," 7 July 2018 Twelve beds are set aside for unaccompanied minor children under an agreement with the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Diane Smith And Anna M. Tinsley, star-telegram, "Fort Worth shelter has seen a 'revolving door' of immigrant children," 27 June 2018 Catholic Charities here does not place unaccompanied minor children with foster parents. Mark Curnutte, Cincinnati.com, "How Ohioans can help children and families separated at the border," 19 June 2018 One person was found dead while five others suffered minor injuries, the spokeswoman said. Zolan Kanno-youngs, WSJ, "Deadly Car Crash Shuts Down Brooklyn Bridge," 21 Nov. 2018 The woman sustained minor injuries after she was hit by the patrol vehicle around 8:40 p.m., Sacramento Sheriff’s Department said in a news statement on Sunday. Fox News, "Sheriff's vehicle hits woman during Stephon Clark protest in Sacramento," 2 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The move marked the second time Sisco – one of the team’s top prospects -- has been demoted to the minors in the past month. Eduardo A. Encina, baltimoresun.com, "Orioles option catcher Chance Sisco to Triple-A Norfolk," 13 July 2018 Always a free swinger, Arcia was hacking at everything when management did him, and the team, a favor by sending him to the minors for a second time a few weeks back (he was bailed out the first time when replacement Tyler Saladino was injured). Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Haudricourt: Brewers looking to go big with Manny Machado, who is an absolutely perfect fit," 13 July 2018 One member of the Phillies’ youth movement that Callaway was referencing, Vince Velasquez, was acquired after the 2015 season in a package from the Houston Astros for reliever Ken Giles — who happened to get demoted to the minors Wednesday. Seth Berkman, New York Times, "Mets’ Jacob deGrom Throws a Gem, With His Future Unclear," 11 July 2018 The Rangers now have 10 days to trade, release or outright Jackson to the minors. Jeff Wilson, star-telegram, "Unable to find trade, Rangers part ways with Denton native Jackson," 11 July 2018 Cook faces a felony charge of seriously injuring someone using a vehicle and misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence, having a fake ID and giving alcohol to minors. Ben Brasch, ajc, "Warrant, friend shed light on DUI case of Cobb teen who fell from SUV," 9 July 2018 Human rights watchdogs have regularly reported police abuses, especially with regard to unaccompanied minors. James Mcauley And Luisa Beck, Washington Post, "Merkel and Macron defend a diminished vision of European values," 7 July 2018 The team can still option him to the minors later in the season. Andy Mccullough, latimes.com, "Walker Buehler completes first leg of journey back to Dodgers," 4 July 2018 Hernandez actually was sent back to the minors after failing in his first opportunity with the Cardinals. Ed Sherman, chicagotribune.com, "Presidential baseball: Doesn't get more American than that, plus more sports books reviewed," 2 July 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


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


see minor entry 1

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Learn More about minor

Dictionary Entries near minor



mino bird




minor axis

Statistics for minor

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

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

: a second subject studied by a college or university student in addition to a main subject


mi·​nor | \ˈmī-nər \

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 \

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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a nest or breeding place

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