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90s Slang You Should Know


[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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for modicum
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Why, of course; it is absolutely essential that each human being should have his or her modicum of food.

  • Fortunately the landlord was a man with some modicum of common sense.

    The Motor Pirate George Sidney Paternoster
  • It would still behave substantially as the larger plate, sending to the eye its modicum of green light.

  • It consisted only of wet biscuit, a modicum of ham, and a small taste of liquor.

    Paddy Finn W. H. G. Kingston
  • The lawyer's jauntiness dropped off, as if a modicum of respect for this man had found its way into his calculating soul.

    The Mayor of Warwick Herbert M. Hopkins
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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