minimum

[min-uh-muhm]
noun, plural minimums, minima [min-uh-muh] .
1.
the least quantity or amount possible, assignable, allowable, or the like.
2.
the lowest speed permitted on a highway.
3.
the lowest amount, value, or degree attained or recorded.
4.
an arbitrary amount set by a restaurant, nightclub, etc., as the least amount to be charged each person for food and drink. Compare cover charge.
5.
Mathematics.
a.
Also called relative minimum, local minimum. the value of a function at a certain point in its domain, which is less than or equal to the values at all other points in the immediate vicinity of the point. Compare absolute minimum.
b.
the point in the domain at which a minimum occurs.
adjective
6.
noting or indicating a minimum.
7.
least possible: minimum risk.
8.
lowest: a minimum rate.
9.
pertaining to a minimum or minimums.

Origin:
1655–65; < Latin, neuter of minimus smallest, least. See minor

minimal, minimize, minimum, minuscule, minutia (see usage note at minuscule).
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
minimum (ˈmɪnɪməm)
 
n , pl -mums, -ma
1.  the least possible amount, degree, or quantity
2.  the least amount recorded, allowed, or reached: the minimum in our temperature record this month was 50°
3.  (modifier) being the least possible, recorded, allowed, etc: minimum age
4.  maths a value of a function that is less than any neighbouring value
 
adj
5.  of or relating to a minimum or minimums
 
[C17: from Latin: smallest thing, from minimus least]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

minimum
1663 (n.) "smallest portion into which matter is divisible," from L. minimum "smallest" (thing), neut. of minimus "smallest," superl. of minor "smaller" (see minor). The adj. is first attested 1810.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
minimum   (mĭn'ə-məm)  Pronunciation Key 
Plural minimums or minima
  1. The lowest known or lowest possible number, measure, quantity, or degree.

  2. The lowest value of a mathematical function, if it has such a value.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
The sea-ice minimum this year was the third lowest on record.
In fact, he suggested, the minimum amount of metal needed for planets to be
  born might be far lower than commonly believed.
Sure a goal to get cars to that minimum amount is probably a good idea.
Economists have hotly debated the employment effects of the minimum wage.
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