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[min-uh-skyool, mi-nuhs-kyool] /ˈmɪn əˌskyul, mɪˈnʌs kyul/
very small.
(of letters or writing) small; not capital.
written in such letters (opposed to majuscule).
a minuscule letter.
a small cursive script developed in the 7th century a.d. from the uncial, which it afterward superseded.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 forms
minuscular, adjective
Can be confused
minimal, 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. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for minuscule
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Figure 61 illustrates a type form of minuscule which may be commended for study.

    Letters and Lettering Frank Chouteau Brown
  • That's not a gigantic number, but it's not a minuscule one, either.

    Little Brother

    Cory Doctorow
  • The text is a fine and elegant Roman minuscule interspersed with italic.

    Illuminated Manuscripts John W. Bradley
  • Alan said quietly, sliding back to sit on the minuscule counter surface in his kitchenette.

  • Then he made out one minuscule thread of metal that ran from the city, in his general direction but veering to the right.

    Captives of the Flame Samuel R. Delany
British Dictionary definitions for minuscule


a lower-case letter
writing using such letters
a small cursive 7th-century style of lettering derived from the uncial
relating to, printed in, or written in small letters Compare majuscule
very small
(of letters) lower-case
Derived Forms
minuscular (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
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Word Origin and History for minuscule

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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