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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for minor

Synonyms: Adjective

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

Antonyms: Adjective

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The trooper and the pickup truck driver were taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital - Plymouth with minor injuries, Procopio said. Alyssa Lukpat, BostonGlobe.com, "Pickup truck smashes into Mass. State Police cruiser in Duxbury breakdown lane," 2 Aug. 2019 Redshirt sophomore Tyler DeSue took advantage of Tyrrell Pigrome’s absence from the spring game because of a minor injury to put himself in the conversation. Don Markus, baltimoresun.com, "Five questions for Maryland football heading into preseason practice," 2 Aug. 2019 Death Valley National Park has said seven park visitors suffered minor injuries in relation to the crash. Phil Helsel, NBC News, "Pilot confirmed dead after Navy fighter jet crash in Death Valley," 2 Aug. 2019 The girl fell into some hedges or grass and suffered only a minor knee injury, said Jachles. David Harris, orlandosentinel.com, "8-year-old girl from United Kingdom falls from 3rd floor hotel window," 1 Aug. 2019 The boys, a man driving the car struck by the fleeing vehicle, the 28-year-old suspect and a 30-year-old passenger suffered minor injuries and were treated at the hospital. chicagotribune.com, "Milwaukee police chase ends in fatal crash days after similar accident injured 2 boys," 1 Aug. 2019 Death Valley National Park spokesman Patrick Taylor says the seven were park visitors and have only minor injuries. Fox News, "F/A-18 Super Hornet crashes in California's Death Valley, 7 hurt on the ground," 1 Aug. 2019 Multiple officers suffered minor injuries, police said, and one was hospitalized for a time but was released and is recovering, according to police spokeswoman Angela Bennett. Julia Sclafani, Daily Pilot, "H.B. police officer hospitalized and 7 people arrested after fight breaks out on beach," 1 Aug. 2019 The man was hospitalized with minor injuries after he was shot twice in the arm around 11:20 p.m. in front of an apartment complex in the 11500 block of Ferguson Road, police said. Loyd Brumfield, Dallas News, "18-year-old man hurt in drive-by shooting near Far East Dallas apartment complex," 31 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Miranda was arrested in March 2018 under charges of rape, corrupting minors and forced prostitution. Rafael Romo, CNN, "Mexican singer says he was trafficked and abused as a teenager," 3 Aug. 2019 Top Democrats switched their support to Amanda La Bell, the nominee of the minor Working Families Party. Gary A. Warner | Bend Bulletin, oregonlive.com, "Knute Buehler reappears on political scene to keep Bend House seat from going Democratic," 2 Aug. 2019 The three states that do allow medical marijuana as a replacement for opioids cover minors, too. NBC News, "Colorado looks to medical marijuana to ease opioid crisis," 2 Aug. 2019 The city ordinance requires minors to wear helmets on bikes and scooters, but for adults, helmets are optional. Hayat Norimine, Dallas News, "Scooter scrutiny: Dallas police ramp up enforcement on riders," 31 July 2019 Of the seven felony charges, six involved a child or minor. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Man charged with compelling prostitution among 7 charged with felony sex crimes last month," 29 July 2019 The team has had its scouting staff evaluating prospects at all levels, from teenage players in the Dominican Summer League to more advanced players in the upper minors. Nick Piecoro, azcentral, "'We like our chances': Diamondbacks' win over Marlins doesn't silence trade rumors," 28 July 2019 So far in 2019, CBP has apprehended 63,624 minors traveling alone at the southern border. Annabelle Timsit, Quartz, "The treatment of children at the US border is more than a political crisis," 23 July 2019 Investigations of crimes against minors are confidential, so league investigators were unable to access police and court records that detailed the alleged abuse, the person said. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Opinion: NFL gets it wrong again by not disciplining Chiefs' Tyreek Hill," 19 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about minor

Dictionary Entries near minor



mino bird




minor axis

Statistics for minor

Last Updated

5 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for minor

The first known use of minor was in 1526

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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)

Keep scrolling for more



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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


marked by turns or indirection

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Bee Cubed

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!