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[min-uh-muh m] /ˈmɪn ə məm/
noun, plural minimums, minima
[min-uh-muh] /ˈmɪn ə mə/ (Show IPA)
the least quantity or amount possible, assignable, allowable, or the like.
the lowest speed permitted on a highway.
the lowest amount, value, or degree attained or recorded.
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.
  1. 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.
  2. the point in the domain at which a minimum occurs.
noting or indicating a minimum.
least possible:
minimum risk.
a minimum rate.
pertaining to a minimum or minimums.
Origin of minimum
1655-65; < Latin, neuter of minimus smallest, least. See minor
Can be confused
minimal, minimize, minimum, minuscule, minutia (see usage note at minuscule) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for minimum
  • 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.
  • Science, however, should be premised on the minimum amount of variables possible for the experiment.
  • At that point your kinetic energy is at a minimum- but your potential energy is at a maximum.
  • It has to find a minimum hypothesis to cover a maximum amount of data.
  • Economists have hotly debated the employment effects of the minimum wage.
  • In my way of thinking, it's not a good sign when a school asks for a minimum salary requirement.
  • The report suggested that certain brain features are minimum requirements for the development of flight.
  • There should not even be a minimum wage in my opinion.
British Dictionary definitions for minimum


noun (pl) -mums, -ma (-mə)
the least possible amount, degree, or quantity
the least amount recorded, allowed, or reached: the minimum in our temperature record this month was 50°
(modifier) being the least possible, recorded, allowed, etc: minimum age
(maths) a value of a function that is less than any neighbouring value
of or relating to a minimum or minimums
Word Origin
C17: from Latin: smallest thing, from minimus least
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 minimum

1660s, "smallest portion into which matter is divisible," from Latin minimum "smallest" (thing), neuter of minimus "smallest, least," superlative of minor "smaller" (see minor). Meaning "least amount attainable" is from 1670s.


1810, from minimum (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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minimum in Science
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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