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[mi-nawr-i-tee, -nor, -mahy-] /mɪˈnɔr ɪ ti, -ˈnɒr, -maɪ-/
noun, plural minorities.
the smaller part or number; a number, part, or amount forming less than half of the whole.
a smaller party or group opposed to a majority, as in voting or other action.
a group in society distinguished from, and less dominant than, the more numerous majority:
The ethnic minority was disproportionately affected by the reduction in preventative medical services.
a racial, ethnic, religious, or social subdivision of a society that is subordinate to the dominant group in political, financial, or social power without regard to the size of these groups:
legislation aimed at providing equal rights for minorities.
a member of such a group.
the state or period of being under the legal age of full responsibility.
of or relating to a minority.
1525-35; < Medieval Latin minōritās. See minor, -ity
Related forms
nonminority, adjective
prominority, adjective
5. childhood, boyhood, girlhood. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for minorities
  • True liberty shows itself to best advantage in protecting the rights of others, and especially of minorities.
  • Because of limited donor pools, minorities have had difficulty finding suitable matches.
  • New principles can stop us from dumping on minorities and the poor.
  • People who want to talk about things having to do with minorities.
  • Opponents of the practice say it unfairly targets minorities.
  • The situation is especially acute among minorities and low-income students.
  • So he watches minorities for insights he can use in ads aimed at the general market.
  • In a democracy majority rule must be combined with guarantees of individual human rights and the rights of minorities.
  • They empower minorities against ill-informed majorities.
  • He took his cues from the culture, especially from minorities and kids.
British Dictionary definitions for minorities


/maɪˈnɒrɪtɪ; mɪ-/
noun (pl) -ties
the smaller in number of two parts, factions, or groups
a group that is different racially, politically, etc, from a larger group of which it is a part
  1. the state of being a minor
  2. the period during which a person is below legal age Compare majority
(modifier) relating to or being a minority: a minority interest, a minority opinion
Word Origin
C16: from Medieval Latin minōritās, from Latin minor
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for minorities



1530s, "condition of being smaller," from Middle French minorité (15c.), or directly from Medieval Latin minoritatem (nominative minoritas), from Latin minor (see minor (adj.)). Meaning "state of being under legal age" is from 1540s; that of "smaller number or part" is from 1736. The meaning "group of people separated from the rest of a community by race, religion, language, etc." is from 1919, originally in an Eastern European context.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for minorities


a culturally, ethnically, or racially distinct group that coexists with but is subordinate to a more dominant group. As the term is used in the social sciences, this subordinancy is the chief defining characteristic of a minority group. As such, minority status does not necessarily correlate to population. In some cases one or more so-called minority groups may have a population many times the size of the dominating group, as was the case in South Africa under apartheid (c. 1950-91).

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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