minority

noun

mi·​nor·​i·​ty mə-ˈnȯr-ə-tē How to pronounce minority (audio)
mī-,
-ˈnär-
plural minorities
1
a
: the smaller in number of two groups constituting a whole
The proposition was opposed by a minority of voters.
: a number or percentage equaling less than half of a total
a one-third minority
… a minority of votes can translate into a majority of seats. Carlos Lozada
b
: the smaller quantity or share
Teams in possession of the ball for a majority of the time have been no more likely to win than those in possession for a minority of the time. Kevin Pullein
2
: the group or political party having the smaller number of votes
the Democratic/Republican minority in the Senate
often used before another noun
a U.S. Senate minority leader
3
a
: a part of a population thought of as differing from the rest of the population in some characteristics and often subjected to differential treatment
the country's ethnic minorities
minority communities
b
: a member of a minority group
"… Speaking as a minority, it's even more satisfying to see women have the chance to follow their dreams. …" Isiah Thomas, quoted in Newsweek
a minority student
a minority-owned business
often used in plural
Doctors are struggling to comply with new federal guidelines requiring them to include more minorities in clinical trials … Douglas Stanglin et al.
4
a
: the period before a person reaches the age of majority (see majority sense 2a)
b
: the state of being a legal minor

Example Sentences

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.
Recent Examples on the Web These minority faith communities are being joined by Native Americans whose ancestors used it in healing rituals. Arkansas Online, 28 Nov. 2022 These minority faith communities are being joined by Native Americans whose ancestors used it in healing rituals. Deepa Bharath, BostonGlobe.com, 27 Nov. 2022 These minority faith communities are being joined by Native American elders whose ancestors have long used the symbol as part of healing rituals. Deepa Bharath, Anchorage Daily News, 27 Nov. 2022 For decades, land-use practices pushed Black and other minority communities into undesirable parts of the city and targeted them for industrial development but not tree-planting, sidewalks and other neighborhood amenities. oregonlive, 20 Nov. 2022 This categorization pushed the medication into a quasicriminalized status and the clinics into minority communities. Melba Newsome, Scientific American, 17 Nov. 2022 Meanwhile, voting rights have been under attack nationwide as states passed new restrictions that target minority communities. Tenzing Lhamo Dorjee, Washington Post, 6 Nov. 2022 This, in turn, can lead to a further breakdown of trust between police and minority communities, which is already fractured to begin with. Josiah Bates, Time, 2 Nov. 2022 Not only does the program hope to create a new gathering place in minority communities. Glenn Gamboa, Fortune, 2 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4a

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

Dictionary Entries Near minority

Cite this Entry

“Minority.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/minority. Accessed 6 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

minority

noun

mi·​nor·​i·​ty mə-ˈnȯr-ət-ē How to pronounce minority (audio)
mī-,
-ˈnär-
plural minorities
1
: the state or period of being a legal minor
2
: the smaller number
especially : a group having less than the number of votes necessary for control
3
: a part of a population that differs from other groups in some characteristics and is often given unfair treatment

Legal Definition

minority

noun

mi·​nor·​i·​ty
plural minorities
1
a
: 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
3
a
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on minority

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