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[min-it] /ˈmɪn ɪt/
the sixtieth part (1/60) of an hour; sixty seconds.
an indefinitely short space of time:
Wait a minute!
an exact point in time; instant; moment:
Come here this minute!
minutes, the official record of the proceedings at a meeting of a society, committee, or other group.
Chiefly British. a written summary, note, or memorandum.
a rough draft, as of a document.
Geometry. the sixtieth part of a degree of angular measure, often represented by the sign ′, as in 12° 10′, which is read as 12 degrees and 10 minutes.
Compare angle1 (def 1c).
verb (used with object), minuted, minuting.
to time exactly, as movements or speed.
to make a draft of (a document or the like).
to record in a memorandum; note down.
to enter in the minutes of a meeting.
prepared in a very short time:
minute pudding.
up to the minute, modern; up-to-date:
The building design is up to the minute.
Origin of minute1
1350-1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin minūta, noun use of feminine of minūtus minute2
Related forms
unminuted, adjective
2. jiffy, second. Minute, instant, moment refer to small amounts of time. A minute, properly denoting 60 seconds, is often used loosely for any very short space of time (and may be interchangeable with second ): I'll be there in just a minute. An instant is practically a point in time, with no duration, though it is also used to mean a perceptible amount of time: not an instant's delay. Moment denotes much the same as instant, though with a somewhat greater sense of duration (but somewhat less than minute ): It will only take a moment.


[mahy-noot, -nyoot, mi-] /maɪˈnut, -ˈnyut, mɪ-/
adjective, minuter, minutest.
extremely small, as in size, amount, extent, or degree:
minute differences.
of minor importance; insignificant; trifling.
attentive to or concerned with even the smallest details:
a minute examination.
1425-75; late Middle English < Latin minūtus (past participle of minuere to make smaller or fewer), equivalent to minū- verb stem + -tus past participle suffix. See minus, minor
Related forms
minuteness, noun
1. tiny, infinitesimal, minuscule. See little. 3. detailed, exact, precise.
1. large. 3. rough, general. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for minute
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And the minute you get mental discords no stand against fear is possible.

  • The carriage rolled on, and for at least one long, long minute there was not a sound.

    A Prisoner of Morro Upton Sinclair
  • The old roses came back to her cheeks for a minute or two then.

    A Pair of Blue Eyes Thomas Hardy
  • He did it in ink for me; and that is better than any of your sketches, that will rub out in a minute.

    Deerbrook Harriet Martineau
  • On this she sat silent for a full minute, seeming to study my face.

    Simon Dale Anthony Hope
British Dictionary definitions for minute


a period of time equal to 60 seconds; one sixtieth of an hour
Also called minute of arc. a unit of angular measure equal to one sixtieth of a degree
any very short period of time; moment
a short note or memorandum
the distance that can be travelled in a minute: it's only two minutes away
(up-to-the-minute when prenominal) up to the minute, very latest or newest
verb (transitive)
to record in minutes: to minute a meeting
to time in terms of minutes
See also minutes
Word Origin
C14: from Old French from Medieval Latin minūta, n. use of Latin minūtusminute²


very small; diminutive; tiny
unimportant; petty
precise or detailed: a minute examination
Derived Forms
minuteness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin minūtus, past participle of minuere to diminish
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for minute

"sixtieth part of an hour or degree," late 14c., from Old French minut (13c.) or directly from Medieval Latin minuta "minute, short note," from Latin minuta, noun use of fem. of minutus "small, minute" (see minute (adj.)). In Medieval Latin, pars minuta prima "first small part" was used by mathematician Ptolemy for one-sixtieth of a circle, later of an hour (next in order was secunda minuta, which became second (n.)). German Minute, Dutch minuut also are from French. Used vaguely for "short time" from late 14c. As a measure expressing distance (travel time) by 1886. Minute hand is attested from 1726.


early 15c., "chopped small," from Latin minutus "little, small, minute," past participle of minuere "to lessen, diminish" (see minus). Meaning "very small in size or degree" is attested from 1620s. Related: Minutely; minuteness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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minute in Science
  1. A unit of time equal to 1/60 of an hour or 60 seconds. ◇ A sidereal minute is 1/60 of a sidereal hour, and a mean solar minute is 1/60 of a mean solar hour. See more at sidereal time, solar time.

  2. A unit of angular measurement, such as longitude or right ascension, that is equal to 1/60 of a degree or 60 seconds.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with minute
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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