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[mod-i-kuh m, moh-di-] /ˈmɒd ɪ kəm, ˈmoʊ dɪ-/
a moderate or small amount:
He hasn't even a modicum of common sense.
Origin of modicum
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English < Latin, noun use of neuter of modicus moderate, equivalent to modi-, combining form of modus limit (see mode1) + -cus adj. suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for modicum
  • Finally, one must applaud Silver's bravery in pointing out that even scientists approach their trade with a modicum of faith.
  • All you need is an open mind and a modicum of commonsense.
  • Then again, there might be some modicum of truth to it.
  • From this she must pay her rent, tuition and all the things that provide a modicum of comfort in a third-world country.
  • Choosing between options requires a modicum of knowledge.
  • At least there's a modicum of art or invention in it.
  • He will not get justice without a modicum of tact.
  • As long as the ship moved, Aguirrez had a modicum of control.
  • The government says its gesture will go some way toward granting the waste collectors a modicum of dignity.
  • Forget restraint: he was suddenly smiling as widely as a person with a mouthful of food and a modicum of manners can.
British Dictionary definitions for modicum


a small amount or portion
Word Origin
C15: from Latin: a little way, from modicus moderate
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 modicum

"small quantity or portion," late 15c., Scottish, from Latin modicum "a little," noun use of neuter of modicus "moderate, having a proper measure; ordinary, scanty, small, few," from modus "measure, manner" (see mode (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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