modicum

play
noun mo·di·cum \ˈmä-di-kəm also ˈmō-\

Definition of modicum

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

modicum was our Word of the Day on 09/15/2015. Hear the podcast!

Examples of modicum in a sentence

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

Did You Know?

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


First Known Use: 15th century


MODICUM Defined for English Language Learners

modicum

play
noun mo·di·cum \ˈmä-di-kəm also ˈmō-\

Definition of modicum for English Language Learners

  • : a small amount



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