minuscule

1 of 2

adjective

mi·​nus·​cule ˈmi-nə-ˌskyül How to pronounce minuscule (audio)
 also  mi-ˈnə-
1
: very small
minuscule amounts
2
: written in or in the size or style of minuscules

minuscule

2 of 2

noun

1
: a lowercase letter
2
a
: one of several ancient and medieval writing styles developed from cursive and having simplified and small forms
b
: a letter in this style

Did you know?

Minuscule derives from the Latin adjective minusculus, which means "rather small." The minuscule spelling is consistent with the word's etymology, but since the 19th century, people have also been spelling it miniscule, perhaps because they associate it with the combining form mini- and words such as minimal and minimum. Usage commentators generally consider the miniscule spelling an error, but it is widely used in reputable and carefully edited publications and is accepted as a legitimate variant in some dictionaries.

Examples of minuscule in a Sentence

Adjective public health officials have claimed that the chemical is harmless in such minuscule amounts
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
This time, the Democratic support made the critical difference, allowing Mr. Johnson, who has a minuscule majority, to avoid a removal vote altogether. Kayla Guo, New York Times, 8 May 2024 The Giants considered calling up Mason Black, who has a minuscule ERA in Triple-A but instead recalled Daulton Jeffries to be the bulk arm. Danny Emerman, The Mercury News, 1 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for minuscule 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'minuscule.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

borrowed from French & New Latin; French, "lower case (of a letter)," borrowed from New Latin minusculus, going back to Latin, "somewhat smaller, fairly small," from the base of minor, minus "smaller" (comparative of parvus "small") + -culus, diminutive suffix — more at minor entry 1

Noun

borrowed from French & New Latin; French, borrowed from New Latin minuscula (short for littera minuscula "smaller letter"), from feminine of Latin minusculus "somewhat smaller" — more at minuscule entry 1

First Known Use

Adjective

1703, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Noun

1701, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of minuscule was in 1701

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Dictionary Entries Near minuscule

Cite this Entry

“Minuscule.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/minuscule. Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

minuscule

adjective
mi·​nus·​cule
ˈmi-nəs-ˌkyül
: very small
minuscule amounts

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