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

Groups representing black and Hispanic employees sent Khosrowshahi a letter in recent weeks outlining the difficulties that minorities at Uber have had in the past year with promotions and raises, according to four people familiar with the letter. Mike Isaac, BostonGlobe.com, "At Uber, new questions arise about executive behavior," 14 July 2018 Paisley, an evangelical Protestant minister, through his career was an extremist militant in the often violent, historically rooted conflict with the Catholic minority in Ulster. Arthur I. Cyr, Lake County News-Sun, "Cyr: Britain’s prime minister takes charge of cabinet," 13 July 2018 Only one nominations category is all-white, and in three categories minority actors account for more than half the nominees. Lynn Elber, The Christian Science Monitor, "Streaming continues its dominance as Netflix breaks HBO's 17-year Emmys streak," 13 July 2018 The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs’ minority report also shows that the number of suspicious orders the companies reported to the Drug Enforcement Administration varied by company. Katie Zezima, Washington Post, "Companies shipped 1.6 billion opioids to Missouri from 2012 to 2017, report says," 12 July 2018 Gary Tuggle, interim Police Commissioner of Baltimore What's happening in Baltimore offers a view of the possible costs of a remarkable national reckoning over how police officers have treated minorities. Brad Heath, USA TODAY, "Baltimore police stopped noticing crime after Freddie Gray's death. A wave of killings followed.," 12 July 2018 The country, which perpetrated mass murder against Jews and other minorities between 1933 and 1945, also agreed to increase pensions to 55,000 Holocaust survivors in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as to expand eligibility for child survivors. Jewish Journal, "Germany to pay additional $88 million to Holocaust survivors," 11 July 2018 New research from Dorfman and his fellow authors suggests that contrary to earlier beliefs, a minority of SNAP recipients are responsible for this spending pattern. Nedra Rhone, ajc, "Study: Minority of SNAP recipients spend benefits early in the month," 10 July 2018 The group can still seek appeal to New Zealand's Supreme Court—though the nation's highest court, like the US Supreme Court, only agrees to hear a minority of the cases that are appealed to it. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "NZ court rules Kim Dotcom can be extradited to US on copyright charges," 5 July 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

Phrases Related to minority

ethnic minorities

in the minority

Statistics for minority

Last Updated

19 Sep 2018

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).


a magnificent or impressive array

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!