mi·​nu·​tia | \ mə-ˈnü-sh(ē-)ə How to pronounce minutia (audio) , mī-, -ˈnyü- \
plural minutiae\ mə-​ˈnü-​shē-​ˌē How to pronounce minutia (audio) , -​ˌī , mī-​ , -​ˈnyü-​ , -​sh(ē-​)ə \

Definition of minutia

: a minute or minor detail usually used in plural He was bewildered by the contract's minutiae.

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How to Pronounce Minutia and Minutiae

Minutiae, we’ve established, is the plural of minutia and also far more common in prose than the singular minutia. There is, however, confusion over the pronunciation of both the singular and the plural, and the confusion may be leading some to use the singular minutia where the plural minutiae is called for. Minutia, the singular, is generally pronounced \muh-NOO-shee-uh\ or \muh-NOO-shuh\, and the plural minutiae should be properly pronounced \muh-NOO-shee-ee\. But transcripts of spoken English show that this is not always adhered to: minutia shows up in transcribed speech far more often than it does in edited writing, and usually in places where one would expect minutiae. This leads us to believe that the pronunciation of minutiae is merging with the pronunciation of minutia, or that minutia is being re-analyzed as a zero plural.

Minutia Has Latin Roots

Minutia was borrowed into English in the late 18th century from the Latin plural noun minutiae, meaning "trifles" or "details" and derived from the singular noun minutia, meaning "smallness." In English, minutia is most often used in the plural as either minutiae or, on occasion, as simply minutia. Latin minutia, incidentally, comes from minutus, an adjective meaning "small" that was created from the verb minuere, meaning "to lessen." A familiar descendant of minutus is minute.

Examples of minutia in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The scroll of minutia requiring permissions and payments is extensive. Andrew Dansby, Chron, "Texas singer-songwriter Guy Clark gets his due in new documentary," 29 Mar. 2021 For the most part, the group is an active, amiable one where linguaphiles help one another with translator minutia. Washington Post, "Who should translate Amanda Gorman’s work? That question is ricocheting around the translation industry.," 25 Mar. 2021 All the minutia our brains have been trained to take in and react to have been altered dramatically. ABC News, "What experts have learned about effects of screen time in COVID-19 isolation," 19 Mar. 2021 That’s the term that refers to the minutia or inner workings of a system that typically denotes things about which only a few insiders care. Allen Adamson, Forbes, "Four Reasons Actor Justin Long Won’t Do For The Intel Brand What He Did For Apple," 19 Mar. 2021 Tee up alerts and reminders and write out or type notes, detailed schedules and to-do lists for big projects and office minutia. Ray A. Smith, WSJ, "How to Go Freelance During the Covid-19 Pandemic," 31 Jan. 2021 For more minutia, Clay Products Drive was originally Clay Products Road until renamed in 1963. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, "Flattop concerts, Anchorage’s dock and the price of cocaine in 1977: A historian answers reader questions," 14 Dec. 2020 At times, tempers flared among attorneys and commissioners negotiating the minutia of the recount, which in Milwaukee County is already behind schedule. In Dane County, meanwhile, the effort moved slowly but more smoothly. Laura Schulte, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Recount off to a slow start, especially in Milwaukee where Trump campaign observers object to thousands of ballots, envelopes," 21 Nov. 2020 And so the president’s rallies and debate performances are peppered with references to Russiagate conspiracy theories about unknown government officials, niche culture war topics, and the minutia of the Hunter Biden disinformation campaign. Gilad Edelman, Wired, "Republicans Pursue an Unlikely Closing Pitch: Amend Section 230," 27 Oct. 2020

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

1748, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for minutia

Latin minutiae trifles, details, from plural of minutia smallness, from minutus

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Time Traveler for minutia

Time Traveler

The first known use of minutia was in 1748

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Statistics for minutia

Last Updated

3 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Minutia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/minutia. Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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