mi·​nu·​tia mə-ˈnü-sh(ē-)ə How to pronounce minutia (audio)
plural minutiae mə-ˈnü-shē-ˌē How to pronounce minutia (audio)
: a minute or minor detail
usually used in plural
He was bewildered by the contract's minutiae.

Did you know?

Minutia Has Latin Roots

Minutia was borrowed into English in the 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 (pronounced \muh-NOO-shee-ee) or, on occasion, as simply minutia. The 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.

Did you know?

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.

Examples of minutia in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Instead, those wits are bent upon the minutiae of his trade: making a single call on a cell phone and then stamping it underfoot, or buying a garbage bin into which a corpse can be conveniently stuffed. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, 27 Oct. 2023 Speaking to Vulture writer and Good One host Jesse David Fox on November 11, Hirway broke down the minutiae of what goes behind each episode of the music podcast, which deconstructs popular songs by speaking to the artists behind them. Vulture, 11 Nov. 2023 The committee has spent months meeting around the city and exhaustively deliberating the minutiae of various reform efforts. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, 5 Oct. 2023 Unless, of course, life seasons them enough to realize that the minutiae of their experiences don’t transfer directly into interesting conversation. Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, 18 Oct. 2023 But bells and whistles aside, what makes the game so special — even among other Spider-media — is its ability to let players relish the minutiae. Christopher Cruz, Rolling Stone, 16 Oct. 2023 The forensic minutiae are duly intriguing: Blood spatters are closely analyzed, timetables meticulously reconstructed. Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 13 Oct. 2023 Sources said investigators are asking witnesses, especially former military aides, granular questions about internal procedures for handling classified materials, apparently seeking to understand the minutiae of how the vice president obtained, consumed, and discarded classified briefing materials. Lucien Bruggeman, ABC News, 26 Sep. 2023 But not everything can be so accurately predicted, and Idalia showed the minutiae of something as complicated as a hurricane can make a big difference on what people actually experience. Eric Zerkel, CNN, 31 Aug. 2023 See More

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

1748, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of minutia was in 1748


Dictionary Entries Near minutia

Cite this Entry

“Minutia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/minutia. Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!