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[mahr-juh-nl] /ˈmɑr dʒə nl/
pertaining to a margin.
situated on the border or edge.
at the outer or lower limits; minimal for requirements; almost insufficient:
marginal subsistence; marginal ability.
written or printed in the margin of a page:
a marginal note.
Sociology. marked by contact with disparate cultures, and acquiring some but not all the traits or values common to any one of them.
  1. selling goods at a price that just equals the additional cost of producing the last unit supplied.
  2. of or relating to goods produced and marketed at margin:
    marginal profits.
Origin of marginal
First recorded in 1570-80, marginal is from the Medieval Latin word marginālis of, pertaining to an edge. See margin, -al1
Related forms
marginality, noun
marginally, adverb
intermarginal, adjective
supermarginal, adjective
supermarginally, adverb
transmarginal, adjective
transmarginally, adverb
unmarginal, adjective
unmarginally, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for marginally
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The less useful (marginally viewed) is traded for the more useful.

    The Principles of Economics Frank A. Fetter
  • Much that Albanian sources have claimed as newly arable almost certainly is marginally so.

    Area Handbook for Albania Eugene K. Keefe
  • Such Quotations of Places to be marginally set down, as shall serve for the fit reference of one Scripture to another.

  • The variety of design experiences is only marginally controlled by design principles.

  • The EU's thinking was mainly economic and marginally geopolitical (though it was presented differently).

    After the Rain Sam Vaknin
British Dictionary definitions for marginally


of, in, on, or constituting a margin
close to a limit, esp a lower limit: marginal legal ability
not considered central or important; insignificant, minor, small
(economics) relating to goods or services produced and sold at the margin of profitability: marginal cost
(politics, mainly Brit & NZ) of or designating a constituency in which elections tend to be won by small margins: a marginal seat
designating agricultural land on the margin of cultivated zones
(economics) relating to a small change in something, such as total cost, revenue, or consumer satisfaction
(politics, mainly Brit & NZ) a marginal constituency
Derived Forms
marginality (ˌmɑːdʒɪˈnælɪtɪ) noun
marginally, adverb
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 marginally



1570s, "written on the margin," from Medieval Latin marginalis, from Latin margo (see margin). Sense of "of little effect or importance" first recorded 1887. Related: Marginally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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marginally in Medicine

marginal mar·gin·al (mär'jə-nəl)

  1. Of, relating to, located at, or constituting a margin, a border, or an edge.

  2. Marginally within a lower standard or limit of quality.

  3. Relating to or located at the fringe of consciousness.

mar'gin·al'i·ty (-jə-nāl'ĭ-tē) n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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