modicum

noun
mo·​di·​cum | \ ˈmä-di-kəm How to pronounce modicum (audio) also ˈmō-\

Definition of modicum

: a small portion : a limited quantity had only a modicum of mathematical skills

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Synonyms for modicum

Synonyms

beans, bubkes (also bupkes), continental, damn, darn (also durn), diddly [slang], diddly-squat [slang], doodley-squat (or doodly-squat), fig, ghost, hoot, iota, jot, lick, rap, squat [slang], syllable, tittle, whit, whoop

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The Origins of Modicum Can Be Found in the Bathroom

What does "modicum" have to do with a toilet? It just so happens that "modicum" shares the same Latin parent as "commode," which is a synonym of "toilet." "Modicum" and "commode" ultimately derive from the Latin noun modus, which means "measure." "Modicum" has been a part of the English language since the 15th century. It descends from the Latin modicus ("moderate"), which is itself a descendant of "modus." (Logically enough, "modicum" refers to a small "measure" of something.) "Modus" really measures up as a Latin root - it also gave us "mode" (originally a kind of musical "measure"), "modal," "model," "modern," "modify," and "modulate." More distant relatives include "mete," "moderate," and "modest."

Examples of modicum in a Sentence

only a modicum of skill is necessary to put the kit together

Recent Examples on the Web

Perhaps Mr Draghi’s crucial role in keeping the currency union together during the sovereign-debt crises in 2010-12 has taught everyone that the bank’s president needs more than a modicum of competence. The Economist, "The ECB presidency is distinct but not immune from backroom deals," 15 June 2019 Anything where a woman feels a modicum of genuine pleasure tends to get categorized this way, even when the images overall are clearly geared toward straight men. Glamour, "15 Porn Sites for Women That You'll Really, Really Enjoy," 20 May 2019 Any one of them could signal to taxpayers there’s a modicum of interest in actually putting citizens first. John Baer, Philly.com, "Gov. Wolf's ethics plan deserves some straight talk | John Baer," 13 Mar. 2018 Portable toilets take up the right field of a baseball field and showers, with plywood offering a modicum of privacy for women, are in center field. Alicia A. Caldwell, WSJ, "As Conditions Worsen, Some Caravan Migrants Seek to Go Back Home," 28 Nov. 2018 Because Americans expect a modicum of privacy even when out in public, strangers approach one another less frequently. Samuel Putnam, Washington Post, "Russians don’t smile much, but that doesn’t mean they don’t like you," 30 June 2018 Other players had some modicum of success against Rivera. Jared Diamond, WSJ, "Mariano Rivera Elected Unanimously to Baseball Hall of Fame," 22 Jan. 2019 Making his film debut, Richie Merritt plays Rick as a sullen, evidently stupid and certainly uncharismatic schemer in possession of a modicum of animal cunning and perhaps a hint of personal insight. John Anderson, WSJ, "‘White Boy Rick’ Review: Trafficking Drugs, Guns and Info," 13 Sep. 2018 The Victorian era’s fictional male detectives stand on the shoulders of real male police officers whose precedent and authority imbue the fictional counterparts with a modicum of realism. Constance Grady, Vox, "Victorian literature was full of lady detectives," 15 Dec. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for modicum

Middle English, from Latin, neuter of modicus moderate, from modus measure

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Dictionary Entries near modicum

Modi

Modiano

modicity

modicum

modificand

modification

modificative

Statistics for modicum

Last Updated

20 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for modicum

The first known use of modicum was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for modicum

modicum

noun

English Language Learners Definition of modicum

formal : a small amount

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More from Merriam-Webster on modicum

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Spanish Central: Translation of modicum

Nglish: Translation of modicum for Spanish Speakers

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