[min-uh-muh m]
See more synonyms for minimum on
noun, plural min·i·mums, min·i·ma [min-uh-muh] /ˈmɪn ə mə/.
  1. the least quantity or amount possible, assignable, allowable, or the like.
  2. the lowest speed permitted on a highway.
  3. the lowest amount, value, or degree attained or recorded.
  4. an arbitrary amount set by a restaurant, nightclub, etc., as the least amount to be charged each person for food and drink.Compare cover charge.
  5. Mathematics.
    1. Also called relative minimum, local minimum.the value of a function at a certain point in its domain, which is less than or equal to the values at all other points in the immediate vicinity of the point.Compare absolute minimum.
    2. the point in the domain at which a minimum occurs.
  1. noting or indicating a minimum.
  2. least possible: minimum risk.
  3. lowest: a minimum rate.
  4. pertaining to a minimum or minimums.

Origin of minimum

1655–65; < Latin, neuter of minimus smallest, least. See minor
Can be confusedminimal minimize minimum minuscule minutia (see usage note at minuscule) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for minimum

Contemporary Examples of minimum

Historical Examples of minimum

  • The thing is done with thoroughness, but at a minimum of cost.

    In the Heart of Vosges

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • The inexperienced does not know how to meet them with a minimum of effort.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

  • This is the minimum amount which can be sold on the Exchange.

  • Horses and mules are placed in Class II, with a minimum weight of 1,400 kg.

    The Railroad Question

    William Larrabee

  • Actually, Arrill seemed to get along with a minimum of government.

British Dictionary definitions for minimum


noun plural -mums or -ma (-mə)
  1. the least possible amount, degree, or quantity
  2. the least amount recorded, allowed, or reachedthe minimum in our temperature record this month was 50°
  3. (modifier) being the least possible, recorded, allowed, etcminimum age
  4. maths a value of a function that is less than any neighbouring value
  1. of or relating to a minimum or minimums

Word Origin for minimum

C17: from Latin: smallest thing, from minimus least
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 minimum

1660s, "smallest portion into which matter is divisible," from Latin minimum "smallest" (thing), neuter of minimus "smallest, least," superlative of minor "smaller" (see minor). Meaning "least amount attainable" is from 1670s.


1810, from minimum (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

minimum in Science


Plural minimums minima
  1. The lowest known or lowest possible number, measure, quantity, or degree.
  2. The lowest value of a mathematical function, if it has such a value.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.