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minuscule

[min-uh-skyool, mi-nuhs-kyool]
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adjective
  1. very small.
  2. (of letters or writing) small; not capital.
  3. written in such letters (opposed to majuscule).
noun
  1. a minuscule letter.
  2. a small cursive script developed in the 7th century a.d. from the uncial, which it afterward superseded.

Origin of minuscule

First recorded in 1695–1705, minuscule is from the Latin word minusculus smallish. See minus, -cule1
Related formsmi·nus·cu·lar, adjective
Can be confusedminimal minimize minimum minuscule minutia (see usage note at the current entry)

Usage note

Minuscule, from Latin minus meaning “less,” has frequently come to be spelled miniscule, perhaps under the influence of the prefix mini- in the sense “of a small size.” Although this newer spelling is criticized by many, it occurs with such frequency in edited writing that some consider it a variant spelling rather than a misspelling.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for minuscule

minuscule

noun
  1. a lower-case letter
  2. writing using such letters
  3. a small cursive 7th-century style of lettering derived from the uncial
adjective
  1. relating to, printed in, or written in small lettersCompare majuscule
  2. very small
  3. (of letters) lower-case
Derived Formsminuscular (mɪˈnʌskjʊlə), adjective

Word Origin

C18: from French, from Latin (littera) minuscula very small (letter), diminutive of minor
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

Word Origin and History for minuscule

n.

1705, "small (not capital) letter;" as an adjective, "small," from 1727 (in printing; general sense of "extremely small" by 1893), from French minuscule (17c.), from Latin minuscula, in minuscula littera "slightly smaller letter," fem. of minusculus "rather less, rather small," diminutive of minus "less" (see minus). Related: Minuscular.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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