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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for minor

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of minor in a Sentence

Adjective 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. Noun 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 Alaska exemption from the Roadless Rule is specific to the Tongass, meaning the rule remains in place over the 5.5 million-acre Chugach National Forest in Southcentral where historical timber harvests have been minor. Elwood Brehmer, Anchorage Daily News, "The Trump administration repealed the ‘Roadless Rule’ for Alaska’s Tongass forest. What’s next?," 5 Nov. 2020 Many of his falsehoods may be minor, but others would have created days of headlines under any other president. Peter Baker, New York Times, "Dishonesty Has Defined the Trump Presidency. The Consequences Could Be Lasting.," 1 Nov. 2020 The plot antics are minor, but the cast chemistry is real, and what seems like a slight indie comedy on first viewing deepens with every rewatch. David Sims, The Atlantic, "In Search of the Ultimate Comfort Movie," 31 Oct. 2020 Financial market history strongly suggests the market impact of the election itself will be surprisingly minor, at least in the short run. Chris Farrell, Star Tribune, "Fretting about investments around election time isn't worth the pain," 30 Oct. 2020 Though the dip is minor, the negative S&P 500 performance over those three months indicates that the incumbent party—in other words, President Trump— will be voted out of the White House and replaced with a Democrat. Jen Wieczner, Fortune, "The stock market has made its final prediction: Joe Biden will win the presidential election," 30 Oct. 2020 Ongoing clinical trials are primarily designed to show whether Covid-19 vaccine candidates prevent any symptoms of the disease — which could be as minor as a sore throat or a cough. NBC News, "Scientists debate how much to lower the bar on Covid-19 vaccine potential," 28 Oct. 2020 Rainfall totals will be minor with about 0.2 inches along the northern Coast Range and as little as a trace to 0.05 likely for the metro area. oregonlive, "Portland Wednesday weather: Fog through morning, then sunny; high 62," 28 Oct. 2020 Both Fialkoff and Oliva said their physical wounds were relatively minor, but each was having trouble shaking off the emotional toll their brushes with apparently random gun violence had taken. Ramon Antonio Vargas | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, "'Scary': Three shot along I-10 in New Orleans in seemingly random attacks one day apart," 27 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Matthew Nesser, 37, struck a deal with Orleans Parish prosecutors to plead guilty Nov. 5 to malfeasance in a public job and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Ramon Antonio Vargas | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, "New Orleans ex-teacher accused of kissing student gets probation, surrenders certificate," 11 Nov. 2020 Warren, 56, is a former attorney ad litem, a lawyer appointed by a court to act as an advocate for the best interests of a minor. Tom Sissom, Arkansas Online, "Warren, Stephenson lead judicial races," 4 Nov. 2020 The charges do not allege Cunningham had physical contact with a minor. oregonlive, "Hillsboro elementary school teacher indicted on child pornography charges," 25 Sep. 2020 Her son is a math major with a minor in Japanese and her daughter is earning a master's degree in linguistics, both at Eastern Michigan University with academic scholarships. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "Mt. Clemens native turns around auto plants nationwide, becoming superstar in her field," 21 Sep. 2020 Had this been a routine arrest for waving a gun, a DUI or any other crime, police would call the family only if the person was a minor. Eileen Kelley, sun-sentinel.com, "Five Hollywood police officers opened fire on man waving a gun," 29 Oct. 2020 Due to the gravity of the crime, he was tried as an adult, despite being a minor at the time of the killing. San Francisco Chronicle, "A confession, 36 years late," 22 Oct. 2020 Brown originally faced charges of first- and second-degree assault, possessing a handgun on his person, concealing a dangerous weapon, and possessing a firearm as a minor. Mary Grace Keller, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Former McDaniel College student gets probation for disorderly conduct after no handgun found," 21 Oct. 2020 Court records related to Barker’s death were not immediately available because the defendant is a minor. oregonlive, "16-year-old arrested in fatal assault of Gresham man," 20 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Undergraduates now have two ways to pursue ethnic studies: Students majoring in history and literature can focus on the subject, and students can minor in ethnicity, migration, rights. Kate Taylor, New York Times, "Denying a Professor Tenure, Harvard Sparks a Debate Over Ethnic Studies," 2 Jan. 2020 Jake hasn’t decided on a future career, but may minor in music in college. Mary Jane Brewer, cleveland, "Fiddle Fest features fast fingers and bows at Medina County library," 17 Feb. 2020 Volunteer doctors and nurses, some of them migrants themselves, tend to minor illnesses and injuries from a rudimentary open-air clinic operated by Global Response Management, a small aid group. ExpressNews.com, "Migrants hunkered down in crowded, filthy border encampment," 17 Nov. 2019 Zeigler, who minored in journalism at the University Alabama in the 1970s, administered the Facebook page. al, "How the I-10 project was killed," 1 Sep. 2019 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

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

Adjective and Noun

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

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Time Traveler for minor

Time Traveler

The first known use of minor was in 1526

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Statistics for minor

Last Updated

14 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Minor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/minor. Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for minor


How to pronounce minor (audio)

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)

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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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