[mi-nawr-i-tee, -nor, -mahy-]
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 differing, especially in race, religion, or ethnic background, from the majority of a population: 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 pertaining to a minority.

1525–35; < Medieval Latin minōritās. See minor, -ity

nonminority, adjective
prominority, adjective

5. childhood, boyhood, girlhood.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To minority
World English Dictionary
minority (maɪˈnɒrɪtɪ, mɪ-)
n , pl -ties
1.  the smaller in number of two parts, factions, or groups
2.  a group that is different racially, politically, etc, from a larger group of which it is a part
3.  a.  the state of being a minor
 b.  Compare majority the period during which a person is below legal age
4.  (modifier) relating to or being a minority: a minority interest; a minority opinion
[C16: from Medieval Latin minōritās, from Latin minor]

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

1533, "condition of being smaller," from M.L. minoritatem (nom. minoritas), from L. minor (see minor). Meaning "state of being under legal age" is from 1547; 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 1921.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica


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).

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

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
We would no longer tolerate a situation in which the minority had leisure
  because the majority had labor.
If you think eating insects is gross, you may be in the cultural minority.
If your last cellphone purchase wasn't a smartphone and you're living
  stateside, consider yourself in the minority.
Intermarriage is also eating away at the minority share of the population.
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature