1. lesser, as in size, extent, or importance, or being or noting the lesser of two: a minor share.
  2. not serious, important, etc.: a minor wound; a minor role.
  3. having low rank, status, position, etc.: a minor official.
  4. under the legal age of full responsibility.
  5. Education. of or relating to a field of study constituting a student's minor.
  6. Music.
    1. (of an interval) smaller by a chromatic half step than the corresponding major interval.
    2. (of a chord) having a minor third between the root and the note next above it.
  7. of or relating to the minority.
  8. (initial capital letter) (of two male students in an English public school who have the same surname) being the younger or lower in standing: Jackson Minor sits over here.
  1. a person under the legal age of full responsibility.
  2. a person of inferior rank or importance in a specified group, class, etc.
  3. Education.
    1. a subject or a course of study pursued by a student, especially a candidate for a degree, subordinately or supplementarily to a major or principal subject or course.
    2. a subject for which less credit than a major is granted in college or, occasionally, in high school.
  4. Music. a minor interval, chord, scale, etc.
  5. Mathematics. the determinant of the matrix formed by crossing out the row and column containing a given element in a matrix.
  6. (initial capital letter) Friar Minor.
  7. the minors, Sports. the minor leagues.
verb (used without object)
  1. to choose or study as a secondary academic subject or course: to major in sociology and minor in art history.

Origin of minor

1250–1300; Middle English < Latin: smaller, less; akin to Old English min small, Old Norse minni smaller, Gothic minniza younger, Sanskrit mīnāti (he) diminishes, destroys
Can be confusedminer minor myna

Synonyms for minor

Antonyms for minor

1. major.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for minoring


  1. lesser or secondary in amount, extent, importance, or degreea minor poet; minor burns
  2. of or relating to the minority
  3. below the age of legal majority
  4. music
    1. (of a scale) having a semitone between the second and third and fifth and sixth degrees (natural minor)See also harmonic minor scale, melodic minor scale
    2. (of a key) based on the minor scale
    3. (postpositive)denoting a specified key based on the minor scaleC minor
    4. (of an interval) reduced by a semitone from the major
    5. (of a chord, esp a triad) having a minor third above the root
    6. (esp in jazz) of or relating to a chord built upon a minor triad and containing a minor seventha minor ninth See also minor key, minor mode
  5. logic (of a term or premise) having less generality or scope than another term or proposition
  6. US education of or relating to an additional secondary subject taken by a student
  7. (immediately postpositive) British the younger or junior: sometimes used after the surname of a schoolboy if he has an older brother in the same schoolHunt minor
  8. (postpositive) bell-ringing of, relating to, or denoting a set of changes rung on six bellsgrandsire minor
  1. a person or thing that is lesser or secondary
  2. a person below the age of legal majority
  3. US and Canadian education a subsidiary subject in which a college or university student needs fewer credits than in his or her major
  4. music a minor key, chord, mode, or scale
  5. logic a minor term or premise
  6. maths
    1. a determinant associated with a particular element of a given determinant and formed by removing the row and column containing that element
    2. Also called: cofactor, signed minorthe number equal to this reduced determinant
  7. (capital) another name for Minorite
  1. (intr usually foll by in) US education to take a minor
Compare major

Word Origin for minor

C13: from Latin: less, smaller; related to Old High German minniro smaller, Gothic minniza least, Latin minuere to diminish, Greek meiōn less
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 minoring



early 13c., menour "Franciscan" (see minor (n.)), from Latin minor "less, lesser, smaller, junior," figuratively "inferior, less important," formed as a masculine/feminine form of minus on the mistaken assumption that minus was a neuter comparative, from PIE root *mei- "small" (see minus).

Some English usages are via Old French menor "less, smaller, lower; underage, younger," from Latin minor. Meaning "underage" is from 1570s. Meaning "lesser" in English is from early 15c.; that of "less important" is from 1620s. The musical sense is from 1690s. In the baseball sense, minor league is from 1884; the figurative extension is first recorded 1926.



early 14c., "a Franciscan," from Latin Fratres Minores "lesser brethren," name chosen by St. Francis, who founded the order, for the sake of humility; see minor (adj.). From c.1400 as "minor premise of a syllogism." From 1610s as "person under legal age" (Latin used minores (plural) for "the young"). Musical sense is from 1797. Meaning "secondary subject of study, subject of study with fewer credits than a major" is from 1890; as a verb in this sense from 1934.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

minoring in Medicine


  1. Lesser or smaller in amount, extent, or size.
  2. Lesser in seriousness or danger.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.