[ min-ee ]
/ ˈmɪn i /
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See synonyms for: mini / minis on Thesaurus.com

a minicomputer.
anything of a small, reduced, or miniature size.
of the length of a miniskirt.
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Origin of mini

Independent use of mini-, or by shortening of words with mini- as initial element

Other definitions for mini (2 of 2)


a combining form with the meanings “of a small or reduced size in comparison with others of its kind” (minicalculator; minicar; minigun); “limited in scope, intensity, or duration” (miniboom; minicourse; minirecession); (of clothing) “short, not reaching the knee” (minidress; miniskirt).

Origin of mini-

By shortening of miniature, minimal, or minimum
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does mini- mean?

Mini– is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “small,” “limited,” or “short.” It is often used in a variety of everyday and technical terms, especially in fashion.

Mini– comes from a shortening of the terms miniature, minimal, or minimum, all expressing small size or a low limit. Minimum comes from Latin minimus, meaning “smallest” or “least.” Related to this root is Latin minor, meaning “smaller,” which was borrowed into English as minor, meaning “lesser in size.” Find out more at our entry for each word.

Examples of mini-

An example of a word you may have encountered that features mini– is miniskirt, “a very short skirt, ending several inches above the knee.”

While mini– means “short,” the skirt part of the word refers to a skirt. Miniskirt literally means “very short skirt.”

What are some words that use the combining form mini-?

What are some other forms that mini– may be commonly confused with?

Not every word that begins with the exact letters mini-, such as minion or mining, is necessarily using the combining form mini– to denote “small.” Learn why minion means “a servile follower” at our entry for the word.

Break it down!

Given the meaning of mini-, what is a minibus?

How to use mini in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for mini (1 of 2)

/ (ˈmɪnɪ) /

(of a woman's dress, skirt, etc) very short; thigh-length
(prenominal) small; miniature
noun plural minis
something very small of its kind, esp a small car or a miniskirt

British Dictionary definitions for mini (2 of 2)


combining form
smaller or shorter than the standard sizeminibus; miniskirt

Word Origin for mini-

C20: from miniature and minimum
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