lesser, as in size, extent, or importance, or being or noting the lesser of two: a minor share.
not serious, important, etc.: a minor wound; a minor role.
having low rank, status, position, etc.: a minor official.
under the legal age of full responsibility.
Education. of or pertaining to a field of study constituting a student's minor.
(of an interval) smaller by a chromatic half step than the corresponding major interval.
(of a chord) having a minor third between the root and the note next above it.
of or pertaining to the minority.
(initial capital letter) (of two male students in an English public school who have the same surname) being the younger or lower in standing: Jackson Minor sits over here.
a person under the legal age of full responsibility.
a person of inferior rank or importance in a specified group, class, etc.
a subject or a course of study pursued by a student, especially a candidate for a degree, subordinately or supplementarily to a major or principal subject or course.
a subject for which less credit than a major is granted in college or, occasionally, in high school.
Music. a minor interval, chord, scale, etc.
Mathematics. the determinant of the matrix formed by crossing out the row and column containing a given element in a matrix.
(initial capital letter) Friar Minor.
the minors, Sports. the minor leagues.
verb (used without object)
to choose or study as a secondary academic subject or course: to major in sociology and minor in art history.

1250–1300; Middle English < Latin: smaller, less; akin to Old English min small, Old Norse minni smaller, Gothic minniza younger, Sanskrit mīnāti (he) diminishes, destroys

miner, minor, myna.

1. smaller, inferior, secondary, subordinate. 3. petty, unimportant, small. 9. child, adolescent.

1. major.
Dictionary.com Unabridged


a male given name.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
minor (ˈmaɪnə)
1.  lesser or secondary in amount, extent, importance, or degree: a minor poet; minor burns
2.  of or relating to the minority
3.  below the age of legal majority
4.  music
 a.  harmonic minor scale See also melodic minor scale (of a scale) having a semitone between the second and third and fifth and sixth degrees (natural minor)
 b.  (of a key) based on the minor scale
 c.  (postpositive) denoting a specified key based on the minor scale: C minor
 d.  (of an interval) reduced by a semitone from the major
 e.  (of a chord, esp a triad) having a minor third above the root
 f.  minor key See also minor mode (esp in jazz) of or relating to a chord built upon a minor triad and containing a minor seventh: a minor ninth
5.  logic (of a term or premise) having less generality or scope than another term or proposition
6.  (US) education of or relating to an additional secondary subject taken by a student
7.  (Brit) (immediately postpositive) the younger or junior: sometimes used after the surname of a schoolboy if he has an older brother in the same school: Hunt minor
8.  (postpositive) bell-ringing of, relating to, or denoting a set of changes rung on six bells: grandsire minor
9.  a person or thing that is lesser or secondary
10.  a person below the age of legal majority
11.  (US), (Canadian) education a subsidiary subject in which a college or university student needs fewer credits than in his or her major
12.  music a minor key, chord, mode, or scale
13.  logic a minor term or premise
14.  maths
 a.  a determinant associated with a particular element of a given determinant and formed by removing the row and column containing that element
 b.  cofactor, Also called: signed minor the number equal to this reduced determinant
15.  (capital) another name for Minorite
vb (usually foll by in)
16.  (US) education to take a minor
[C13: from Latin: less, smaller; related to Old High German minniro smaller, Gothic minniza least, Latin minuere to diminish, Greek meiōn less]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1212, from L. minor "lesser, smaller, junior," formed as a masc./fem. of minus on the mistaken assumption that minus was a neut. comparative (see minus), from PIE base *min- "small" (cf. L. minuere, Gk. minythein, O.E. minsian "to diminish," Skt. miyate "diminishes, declines,"
Rus. men'she "less"). Some Eng. usages are via O.Fr. menor, from L. minor. Meaning "under-age" (adj.) is from 1579; the noun meaning "under-aged person" is from 1612. The musical sense is from 1694. In U.S. colleges and universities, "subject of study with fewer credits than a major," it is attested from 1890. In the baseball sense, minor league is from 1884; the figurative extension is first recorded 1926.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

minor mi·nor (mī'nər)

  1. Lesser or smaller in amount, extent, or size.

  2. Lesser in seriousness or danger.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


person below the legal age of majority or adulthood. The age of majority varies in different countries, and even in different jurisdictions within a country. It also differs with the type of activity concerned, such as marrying, purchasing alcohol, or driving an automobile. Twenty-one years is a common division between minors and adults.

Learn more about minor with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences for minor
The death penalty was the punishment for even minor offenses.
The following is a list of minor recurring characters who appear in the
De burgh came from a minor gentry family about which little is known.
And a still larger number played in the minor leagues and on amateur teams as
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