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minus

[mahy-nuh s]
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preposition
  1. less by the subtraction of; decreased by: Ten minus six is four.
  2. lacking or without: a book minus its title page.
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adjective
  1. involving or noting subtraction.
  2. algebraically negative: a minus quantity.
  3. less than; just below in quality: to get a C minus on a test.
  4. Informal. having negative qualities or characteristics; inferior.
  5. Mycology. (in heterothallic fungi) designating, in the absence of morphological differentiation, one of the two strains of mycelia that unite in the sexual process.
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noun
  1. minus sign.
  2. a minus quantity.
  3. a deficiency or loss.
  4. Informal. a person or thing with no apparent abilities, usefulness, etc.: The last applicant was a definite minus.
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Origin of minus

1300–50; Middle English < Latin, neuter of minor less; see minor
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


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British Dictionary definitions for minuses

minus

preposition
  1. reduced by the subtraction offour minus two (written 4 – 2)
  2. informal deprived of; lackingminus the trimmings, that hat would be ordinary
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adjective
    1. indicating or involving subtractiona minus sign
    2. Also: negativehaving a value or designating a quantity less than zeroa minus number
  1. on the negative part of a scale or coordinate axisa value of minus 40°C
  2. involving a disadvantage, harm, etca minus factor
  3. (postpositive) education slightly below the standard of a particular gradehe received a B minus for his essay
  4. botany designating the strain of a fungus that can only undergo sexual reproduction with a plus strain
  5. denoting a negative electric charge
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noun
  1. short for minus sign
  2. a negative quantity
  3. a disadvantage, loss, or deficit
  4. informal something detrimental or negative
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Mathematical symbol:

Word Origin

C15: from Latin, neuter of minor
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 minuses

minus

prep.

late 15c., "with subtraction of," from Latin minus "less," neuter of minor "smaller," from PIE *mi-nu-, suffixed form of root *mei- "small" (cf. Latin minuere "to diminish, reduce, lessen," Greek meion "less, smaller," Old English minsian "to diminish," Sanskrit miyate "diminishes, declines," Russian men'she "less").

Mathematical use in expressions of calculation did not exist in the word in classical Latin and is probably from North Sea medieval commercial usage of Latin plus and minus to indicate surplus or deficiency of weight or measure. Origin of the "minus sign" is disputed.

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minus

n.

1650s, from minus (prep.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper