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Origin of minimal

First recorded in 1660–70; minim(um) + -al1
Related formsmin·i·mal·ly, adverbnon·min·i·mal, adjectivesub·min·i·mal, adjective
Can be confusedminimal minimize minimum minuscule minutia (see usage note at minuscule)

Synonyms for minimal

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for minimal


  1. of the least possible; minimum or smallest
Derived Formsminimally, 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

Word Origin and History for minimal

"smallest, least," 1660s, from Latin minimus (see minim) + -al (1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper