noun, often attributive
mi·​nor·​i·​ty | \ mə-ˈnȯr-ə-tē , mī-, -ˈnär-\
plural minorities

Definition of minority

1a : the period before attainment of majority (see majority sense 2)
b : the state of being a legal minor
2 : the smaller in number of two groups constituting a whole specifically : a group having less than the number of votes necessary for control The proposition was opposed by a minority of voters.
3a : a part of a population differing from others in some characteristics and often subjected to differential treatment the country's ethnic minorities
b : a member of a minority group an effort to hire more minorities

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for minority


adolescence, nonage

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of minority in a Sentence

The proposal is opposed by a minority of voters. The Republicans are now the minority in the Senate. The group is becoming an influential minority in the community.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Facebook has a genocide problem Last month, The New York Times reported that members of the Myanmar military organized a systematic disinformation campaign to demonize the country's Muslim Rohingya minority group. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Sorry Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook isn’t a “positive force”," 21 Nov. 2018 Swift speculates that a minority of crows lose their minds during the breeding season. Laura Yan, Popular Mechanics, "Why Do Crows Have Sex with the Dead?," 21 July 2018 At the time, the town of Money was controlled by a white minority and much of the black population, including Wright, were sharecroppers. Gabby Raymond, Time, "The Justice Department Has Reopened Its Investigation of Emmett Till's Murder. Here Are 5 Things to Know About the Case," 12 July 2018 Like it or not, those who go for the classic Christmas tree are in the minority. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Fake Christmas Trees Are the Future and That's a Good Thing for Everyone—and Their Carpets," 18 Dec. 2018 Sorkin also is a minority investor in Buena Onda, a Garces taqueria that was not included in the bankruptcy. Michael Klein, Philly.com, "Jose Garces offers to add his own cash to sweeten sale of his restaurants," 28 June 2018 These tools range from facial-recognition software ostensibly aimed at curbing jaywalking to nearly omnipresent surveillance cameras monitoring the county's Uighur minority. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Google Employees Sign Protest Letter Against Secretive Chinese Search Engine," 27 Nov. 2018 Reynolds wanted the work of art to inspire kids, especially minority children who might not have regular access to art. Emily K. Coleman, Lake County News-Sun, "Artist behind Ray Bradbury mural in Waukegan hopes his work will inspire kids who don't have access to art," 13 July 2018 And then there were the violent acts and threats leading up to the election that contributed to an environment that left many voters, in particular people of color and members of minority groups, increasingly disempowered. Bree Newsome, SELF, "The 2018 Midterm Elections Proved That Change Must Happen from the Ground Up," 15 Nov. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about minority

Statistics for minority

Last Updated

21 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for minority

The first known use of minority was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for minority



English Language Learners Definition of minority

: a number or amount that is less than half of a total
: the group that is the smaller part of a larger group
: a group of people who are different from the larger group in a country, area, etc., in some way (such as race or religion)


mi·​nor·​i·​ty | \ mə-ˈnȯr-ə-tē \
plural minorities

Kids Definition of minority

1 : the state of not being old enough to have the full rights of an adult
2 : a number less than half of a total The proposal is opposed by a minority of voters.
3 : a group that makes up a smaller part of a larger group The animals affected are a minority.
4 : a part of a population that is in some ways (as in race or religion) different from others


plural minorities

Legal Definition of minority

1a : the period before attainment of majority
b : the state of being a minor
2 : the smaller of two groups constituting a whole: as
a : a group (as in a legislative body) having less than the number of votes necessary for control
b : a group of judges among those hearing an appeal who disagree with the majority's judgment : dissent sense 3
c : a group of jurisdictions taking a less widespread approach to or view of a legal question, issue, or problem
3a : a part of a population differing especially from the dominant group in some characteristics (as race, sex, or national origin) and often subject to differential treatment
b : a member of a minority an effort to hire more minorities

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on minority

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


excited commotion or publicity

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

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!