9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[mahr-juh-nl] /ˈmɑr dʒə nl/
pertaining to a margin.
situated on the border or edge.
at the outer or lower limits; minimal for requirements; almost insufficient:
marginal subsistence; marginal ability.
written or printed in the margin of a page:
a marginal note.
Sociology. marked by contact with disparate cultures, and acquiring some but not all the traits or values common to any one of them.
  1. selling goods at a price that just equals the additional cost of producing the last unit supplied.
  2. of or relating to goods produced and marketed at margin:
    marginal profits.
Origin of marginal
1570-80; < Medieval Latin marginālis of, pertaining to an edge. See margin, -al1
Related forms
marginality, noun
marginally, adverb
intermarginal, adjective
supermarginal, adjective
supermarginally, adverb
transmarginal, adjective
transmarginally, adverb
unmarginal, adjective
unmarginally, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for marginal
  • And all of us have been, and will probably once again be, marginal cases ourselves.
  • The marginal resources used to finance this expansion of college graduates could often be better deployed elsewhere.
  • It does mean that the growth return to the marginal dollar or hour spent on education is nowhere near what it used to be.
  • But of course, environments vary, and foragers may live in marginal or energy-rich environments.
  • In the first, they considered only idle land or land with marginal productivity.
  • They want you to shell out lots of money every year for what is in the end a fairly marginal improvement.
  • Flat tax-rates on a broad base are less distortive than high marginal rates on a narrow base.
  • The hospitals themselves are to blame for recklessly endangering human lives without fully marginal efforts to stop it.
  • marginal costs for oil are less than those for alternative technologies, though they are rising.
  • It is impossible to draw up absolute criteria that would tip an essay one way or the other in marginal cases.
British Dictionary definitions for marginal


of, in, on, or constituting a margin
close to a limit, esp a lower limit: marginal legal ability
not considered central or important; insignificant, minor, small
(economics) relating to goods or services produced and sold at the margin of profitability: marginal cost
(politics, mainly Brit & NZ) of or designating a constituency in which elections tend to be won by small margins: a marginal seat
designating agricultural land on the margin of cultivated zones
(economics) relating to a small change in something, such as total cost, revenue, or consumer satisfaction
(politics, mainly Brit & NZ) a marginal constituency
Derived Forms
marginality (ˌmɑːdʒɪˈnælɪtɪ) noun
marginally, adverb
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 marginal

1570s, "written on the margin," from Medieval Latin marginalis, from Latin margo (see margin). Sense of "of little effect or importance" first recorded 1887. Related: Marginally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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marginal in Medicine

marginal mar·gin·al (mär'jə-nəl)

  1. Of, relating to, located at, or constituting a margin, a border, or an edge.

  2. Marginally within a lower standard or limit of quality.

  3. Relating to or located at the fringe of consciousness.

mar'gin·al'i·ty (-jə-nāl'ĭ-tē) n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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marginal in Technology

1. Extremely small. "A marginal increase in core can decrease GC time drastically." In everyday terms, this means that it is a lot easier to clean off your desk if you have a spare place to put some of the junk while you sort through it.
2. Of extremely small merit. "This proposed new feature seems rather marginal to me."
3. Of extremely small probability of winning. "The power supply was rather marginal anyway; no wonder it fried."
[Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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