modicum

noun
mo·​di·​cum | \ ˈmä-di-kəm 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

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 The licenses now are not required, so most people miss even that modicum of training. Paul Jenkins, Anchorage Daily News, "Crime got you angry and frustrated? Keep your cool, my friends," 20 Jan. 2018 Only in Illinois would a major election year bring at least a modicum of normalcy, with lawmakers approving a full-year state budget both Republicans and Democrats call balanced and one that Gov. Bruce Rauner will approve. Rick Pearson, chicagotribune.com, "Rauner decision to sign state budget avoids election-year repeat of historic feud," 1 June 2018 If restoring a modicum of traditional underwriting by loosening the Affordable Care Act’s strict age-rating rule discriminated against the old, then ObamaCare was—and is—discriminating against the young. Jason Lewis, WSJ, "Who Lost The House? John McCain," 11 Nov. 2018 Diners get a modicum of the meaty flavor distinguished by the slightly chewy texture. Michael Bauer, San Francisco Chronicle, "Che Fico lives up to hype as most anticipated newcomer," 8 June 2018 The Cougars managed a modicum of momentum with a 6-1 run that began early in the third frame and continued until Long got them to within 11-9, with 4:51 remaining. Aaron Carter, Philly.com, "Strath Haven tops Springfield Delco in boys' lacrosse PIAA state quarterfinals," 2 June 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

14 Feb 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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