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[min-uh-muh l] /ˈmɪn ə məl/
constituting a minimum:
a minimal mode of transportation.
barely adequate or the least possible:
minimal care.
Origin of minimal
1660-70; minim(um) + -al1
Related forms
minimally, adverb
nonminimal, adjective
subminimal, adjective
Can be confused
minimal, minimize, minimum, minuscule, minutia (see usage note at minuscule)
2. nominal, minimum. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for minimal
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A minimal rate which will enable the least paid to live upon her earnings.

    Women Wage-Earners Helen Campbell
  • The grading system at all levels utilized numbers from a high of ten to a low of one, five being the minimal passing grade.

    Area Handbook for Romania Eugene K. Keefe, Donald W. Bernier, Lyle E. Brenneman, William Giloane, James M. Moore, and Neda A. Walpole
  • With only minimal public attention, all but one of these schools was operating on an integrated basis by 1953.

  • These signs are minimal movements of the head on the part of the experimenter.

    Clever Hans Oskar Pfungst
  • minimal typographical errors concerning punctuation have been corrected without notes.

    Cuore (Heart) Edmondo De Amicis
British Dictionary definitions for minimal


of the least possible; minimum or smallest
Derived Forms
minimally, 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 minimal

"smallest, least," 1660s, from Latin minimus (see minim) + -al (1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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