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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Examples of modicum in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples of modicum from the Web

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.

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."

Origin and Etymology of modicum

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


MODICUM Defined for English Language Learners

modicum

noun

Definition of modicum for English Language Learners

  • : a small amount



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