Meaning of minor in English:


Pronunciation /ˈmʌɪnə/

See synonyms for minor

Translate minor into Spanish


  • 1Lesser in importance, seriousness, or significance.

    ‘she requested a number of minor alterations’
    • ‘It was not easy to find people to mend your shoes, repair your broken zipper or anything else that might be of minor importance but that is necessary for daily life.’
    • ‘Several minor incidents of little significance are included.’
    • ‘Against this kind of background, the Northern Ireland situation is of much more minor importance.’
    • ‘Meetings with the police and the council ensure we have a drinks licence, which is of minor importance in these parts you understand.’
    • ‘Other minor alterations also played an important role.’
    • ‘Rehabilitation is, if society is not to nurture a permanent and growing criminal class, and turn those who have committed minor crimes into more serious offenders.’
    • ‘The ombudsman's powers of investigation should make a clear distinction between complaints of a serious and minor nature, the HRC argues.’
    • ‘Officers have now recommended approval for the Bell Autoelectrics scheme after a number of minor design alterations were made to the proposed building.’
    • ‘The health plan will also see a radical overhaul of accident and emergency wards, which will include a separation of serious and minor cases.’
    • ‘Crime on the towpaths includes everything from minor thefts to serious assaults and even murder, but the amount of crime reported is relatively low.’
    • ‘In addition, if China removes its missiles but does not destroy them, this would only be of minor military significance.’
    • ‘Paramedics treated Mr Reid, who was taken to the Royal Bolton Hospital suffering nothing more serious than minor cuts and bruises.’
    • ‘The school is extremely strict over these issues and many pupils frequently find themselves in serious trouble over minor breaches.’
    • ‘In that time 200 serious injuries and 1,000 minor injuries have been avoided.’
    • ‘A large number reported injuries while drinking, with most fairly minor but others more serious.’
    • ‘People with high levels of stress are also more prone to develop colds and other minor illnesses.’
    • ‘Graphics have been sharpened slightly, but the racing courses are the same, and with minor exceptions, so are the vehicles.’
    • ‘Other than those minor details, this summer was going to be spent with large intervals of sleep and bumming around.’
    • ‘Otherwise, subject to some minor problems, the recipe should have worked.’
    • ‘Another, about 20 percent of patients, will develop minor depression.’
    slight, small
    little known, unknown, lesser
    View synonyms
  • 2Music
    (of a scale) having intervals of a semitone between the second and third degrees, and (usually) the fifth and sixth, and the seventh and eighth.

    Contrasted with major

    ‘Yet by bar 3, where the two basic scale-motifs are concatenated to form five notes of an A minor scale, the tonality is in doubt.’
    • ‘The fingering chart provided on page 111 fails to identify the minor scale form being illustrated.’
    1. 2.1(of an interval) characteristic of a minor scale and less by a semitone than the equivalent major interval.
      Compare with diminished
      ‘the E flat clarinet sounds a minor third higher than the written notes’
      • ‘If a major interval is made a half step smaller without changing its numerical name, it becomes a minor interval.’
      • ‘Diminished intervals are created when a perfect or minor interval is made one half step smaller and the interval number is not changed.’
    2. 2.2usually postpositive (of a key or mode) based on a minor scale and tending to produce a sad or pensive effect.
      ‘Concerto in A minor’
      • ‘I think it's just that I like to compose in minor keys.’
      • ‘The touching ‘Don't Let Her Know She's An Angel’ combines Wilson's epic sentimentality with soft minor keys.’
      • ‘All three movements use fairly melodic material, all in minor keys.’
      • ‘Some of that composer's most deeply felt works are in minor keys.’
      • ‘Studies have proven that this system is clearly advantageous during the early stages of learning to sing in minor keys.’
      • ‘The return of the minor mode of the first aria at the conclusion provides dramatic resolution to the work where the poet's deceived heart is inflected with irony.’
      • ‘The program includes two cello concertos and the Symphony in D minor by Cesar Franck.’
      • ‘Since then there has been a Piano Concerto in C minor, theme music for any situation requiring a sufficiently heady mixture of passion and gloom.’
      • ‘The F minor has a Brahmsian intensity and characteristic polyrhythm in the Scherzo and finale.’
      • ‘Her debut as a soloist was at the age of 11, playing the famous Mendelssohn Concerto in E minor.’
      • ‘It began as the Andante religioso slow movement for an early String Quartet in E minor.’
      • ‘The resultant Concerto in B minor for cello and orchestra Op 104 was Dvorák's final large scale orchestral score.’
      • ‘The Piano Trio in F minor is a gloriously sunny work that is comparable to similar works by Arensky and Tchaikovsky.’
  • 3British dated (following a surname in public schools) indicating the younger of two brothers.

    ‘Smith minor’
    • ‘Smith minor wasn't quite seven then, and had only just been sent to school.’
    • ‘Not much of fear about Jones minor, eh, Teddy Jones, is there?’
    junior, younger
    View synonyms
  • 4Logic
    (of a term) occurring as the subject of the conclusion of a categorical syllogism.

    • ‘where P, S, and M are the major, minor, and middle terms of the syllogism.’
    1. 4.1(of a premise) containing the minor term in a categorical syllogism.
      ‘Notice that the minor premise of the syllogism above is only marginally contingent upon historical analysis.’
      • ‘In most cases, it identifies the conclusion that is to be accepted and then goes on to identify what it to be argued for (the minor premise).’
      • ‘You have to make out a major premise in this case and there is also a question as to even if you make out your major premise whether or not the minor premise is made out, given the various facts to which I referred you.’
      • ‘But as with all syllogisms, the validity hinges on the major and minor premises.’
      • ‘You have to establish a major premise and a minor premise.’


  • 1A person under the age of full legal responsibility.

    ‘the court would take account of the minor's wishes’
    • ‘It may be now legal for minors to donate to campaigns, but I believe there is a requirement that the donors' names over a minimum amount be reported, is there not?’
    • ‘Yet, four centuries on, we are told that smoking among minors, especially young girls, is on the increase.’
    • ‘The committee was concerned about removing existing legal protections for minors if they enter into a de facto relationship.’
    • ‘In the past, only specially qualified judges conducted legal proceedings against minors.’
    • ‘Under it, women are treated as legal minors and denied legal autonomy to conclude their own marriage contracts.’
    • ‘Young people are especially vulnerable to psychiatric abuse and involuntary incarceration because as minors their legal rights are limited.’
    • ‘The laws vary from state to state, but in almost every state it's not legal for minors to buy cigarettes.’
    • ‘The legal validity of any minor's marriage continues to be wholly beyond its scope.’
    • ‘In the case of a spouse with children, whether minors or adults, the surviving spouse has a legal entitlement to one-third of the deceased's estate.’
    • ‘A child is a minor until the age of legal majority.’
    • ‘Anytime a minor opens a bank account, a parent is legally responsible for it.’
    • ‘I happen to have four children that are minors, in that age frame.’
    • ‘When he died in 1873, his children were still minors, so his property was administered by the Court of Wards.’
    • ‘In this document property was transferred to the wife of the deceased, and a guardian was named for children who were minors.’
    • ‘The report informs that many of these women caught in the raid were girls, minors.’
    • ‘In fact, studies show that minors can fairly routinely purchase alcohol from traditional bricks-and-mortar sellers.’
    • ‘These aren't adult private citizens; they are minors who are being educated in government-run schools.’
    • ‘The casinos would be subject to strict regulation and would be required to block minors and compulsive gamblers.’
    • ‘These same children can, however, suffer the death penalty, the United States being the only industrialized nation that sentences minors to death.’
    • ‘The discussion centered around the issue of how easy it was for teenagers to obtain cigarettes even though it is illegal to sell cigarettes to minors.’
    child, infant, youth
    View synonyms
  • 2Music
    A minor key, interval, or scale.

    ‘Yet he will conjure a few bars in the minor where possible and darken textures by shunting to the subdominant.’
    • ‘Themes initially stated in the major mode recur more strongly in the minor.’
    • ‘Each major key is followed by its parallel minor.’
    1. 2.1Bell Ringing A system of change-ringing using six bells.
      ‘Other terms for even numbers of bells include Minor (6 bells), Major (8 bells), Royal (10 bells) and Maximus (12 bells).’
      • ‘We ring whatever people ask for including Stedman Doubles, Crayford Minor and Norwich Surprise Minor.’
  • 3minorsNorth American The minor leagues in baseball or American football.

    ‘Salinas was one of six teams in the minors’
    • ‘You'll never find perfect baseball in the minors, but stories from Miguel Cabrera to Bucky Jacobsen are enough for me.’
    • ‘From 1988 through 1991, Schilling had split time between the minors and the major leagues in each of those seasons.’
    • ‘Bragan's managerial ingenuity in confronting umpires was almost unlimited, both in the major leagues and the minors.’
    • ‘A first baseman in the minors, Sexson progressed quickly through the Indians' minor league system.’
    • ‘He's the top power-hitting first baseman in the minors and the only legitimate 50-home-run threat on this list.’
    • ‘There aren't many teams with more pitching depth in the minors, but this bullpen is terrible.’
    • ‘After his rookie campaign, Wise spent the following year in the minors, before returning to the big leagues for good in 1966.’
    • ‘Young played short in the minors, but his major league experience at the position before this season consisted of 42 innings.’
    • ‘He mostly was a second baseman in the minors but has become solid at shortstop and third base.’
    • ‘In addition to 3,771 major league hits, Aaron accumulated 324 in the minors for a pro total of 4,095.’
    • ‘And after just over a year in the minors, he made his major league debut on June 25, 1983.’
    • ‘It wasn't long ago that the Giants had the best Major League ready pitching prospect depth in the minors.’
    • ‘Can you tell me the hitter and pitcher who played the longest in the minors without ever appearing in a major league game?’
    • ‘He started in the minors in 2001 before making his way back to the majors, finishing last season with a 5-3 record and 3.16 ERA.’
    • ‘A slump ensued, however, necessitating a return trip to the minors in June before another call-up during which he truly established himself as a probable big league standout.’
    • ‘He has yet to display the running game he developed in the minors, and his power is sporadic.’
    • ‘He was able to get used to the pressure as a closer in college and the minors instead of training for the job as a starter.’
    • ‘He believes any of the three could pitch in the majors this season, although he'd prefer they spend a full season in the minors.’
    • ‘If Patterson needs a full year in the minors, the Cubs have Damon Buford as an insurance policy.’
    • ‘He's a rookie, spent a year in the minors after pitching for Stanford.’
  • 4North American A student's subsidiary subject or course.

    ‘a minor in American Indian studies’
    • ‘He chose a philosophy minor, and several courses in classics as electives.’
    • ‘I have a bachelor's degree in education with an art minor from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.’
    • ‘The theme school concept could easily develop into a collegiate minor.’
    • ‘Elective courses in the minor must be approved by the student's academic advisor and the Undergraduate Coordinator of the minor.’
    • ‘This minor is designed for students majoring in another natural science who also may teach chemistry in secondary schools.’
    • ‘While at Drake, she did, however, get serious about completing her bachelor's degree and added a business minor.’
    • ‘The undergraduate program in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity has more than 90 student majors and minors.’
    • ‘Hopefully the test wouldn't be too hard, but it was an advanced literature class for my minor, so I had no idea what to expect.’
    • ‘Currently, only minors are offered in Education.’
    • ‘Another related area is what courses should be required for the minor.’
    • ‘I did well in Art History, my minor; I had teachers and courses that rewarded passionate essays full of doubleplus bellyfeel.’
    • ‘Nor does this word occur in the discussion of requirements and electives for the undergraduate major or minor.’
    • ‘My political science minor might have come from a third-tier land grant university but I'm not even that dumb.’
    • ‘The course is not required for any academic major or minor.’
    • ‘He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in fisheries management with a minor in Native American studies at the University of Idaho.’
    • ‘She graduated from Princeton University with a major in biology and minors in Latin American studies and science/human affairs.’
    • ‘Hammond holds a BSEE in Electrical Engineering and a minor in Mathematics from Bradley University.’
    • ‘In 1993 she graduated with a major in social science and minors in women's studies and business administration.’
    • ‘He started college with the intent of majoring in soil science, with minors in horticulture and arboriculture.’
    • ‘Many students also successfully complete a minor in African American studies.’
  • 5Logic
    A minor term or premise.

    ‘I prove the minor, because your father is known by you and your father is the one approaching; hence, the one approaching is known by you.’
    • ‘This is called the fallacy of the illicit minor.’
  • 6Bridge

    short for minor suit

    ‘a bid of two no trumps shows strength in the minors’
    • ‘If you don't have a 5-card major, open your longest minor.’
    • ‘After a transfer into a minor, the opener bids the shown minor if he has at least high-honor-third in the suit.’
  • 7A small drab moth which has purplish caterpillars that feed on grass.

    Genus Oligia, family Noctuidae

    ‘Minors and Rustics are extremely small and are often mistaken for micro moths, especially Pyralids.’
    • ‘Some Minors also fly in sunshine.’


[no object]North American minor in
  • Study as or qualify in a subsidiary subject at college or university.

    ‘Clark had minored in Animal Science’
    • ‘As a young brother, I majored in biology and minored in religious studies at St. Mary's College, Moraga, California.’
    • ‘I too, am Native American of the Cherokee tribe and I minored in Native American studies in college.’
    • ‘Koehler has provided outstanding leadership in presenting graduate courses to students majoring and minoring in statistics.’
    • ‘Mrs. Gallagher asked who minored in literature at college.’
    • ‘I majored in Political Science and minored in Journalism and left college before getting a degree in either.’
    • ‘She attended Southern University in Louisiana and graduated with a BA, majoring in English and minoring in social studies.’
    • ‘‘It was just something that was very personal to me,’ says Johnson, who's double-majoring in pre-med and history and minoring in Jewish studies.’
    • ‘I'm majoring in architecture, and I'm minoring in Latin American studies.’
    • ‘Pondexter is majoring in African studies and minoring in sociology.’
    • ‘I did not have to major or minor in Black studies to learn about my history.’
    • ‘It is also problematic when administrators delay approval for degree programs in ethnic studies even when a solid faculty is in place and many students indicate interest in majoring or minoring in the field.’
    • ‘Students who minor in education may qualify as certified teachers.’
    • ‘I ended up attending Western Illinois University, majoring in Music Education and minoring in English Literature’
    • ‘Dr. Lisle graduated summa cum laude from Ohio Wesleyan University where he double-majored in physics and astronomy, and minored in mathematics.’
    • ‘Garett R. Nadrich is a graduate of Adelphi University, where he majored in Communications and minored in African-American History.’
    • ‘Because of her interest in nature, including her love of plant life, she majored in plant genetics and minored in fine art at the University of California in Berkeley.’
    • ‘Alice went to the Santa Fe State University and majored in communication and minored in Spanish.’
    • ‘I went to college with the idea of majoring in art and minoring in English.’
    • ‘I was going to major in psychology and minor in women's studies.’
    • ‘For Alisa Lewis, a junior from East St. Louis, Ill., who is majoring in architectural engineering and minoring in math, the HAWK Link students and staff have become like extended family.’


    in a minor key
    • (especially of a literary work) understated.

      ‘only Britain's poetry, composed in a minor key, is disregarded’
      • ‘It is a minor film in a minor key, but it is helped immeasurably by one thing - the role of Mina is played by Carole Bouquet.’
      • ‘The real trouble is a plot line from Middle Earth via the New Age that features our questing hero Tommy Matisse (the artist, get it?), well played in a minor key by Dan Spielman as a star composer at the Royal Academy of Music.’
      • ‘If ever a film was composed in a minor key, it is this beautiful and sad movie from the Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan, which simply floats like a helium balloon above the middling mainstreamers that have rolled up this week.’
      • ‘Like all artists who have found success in a minor key, Brian wanted to make an ambitious, large-scale, neoclassical work - a colossus.’
      • ‘Thus does Majid Majidi begin his film in a minor key, as it were, giving us the aural experience of a blind person before substituting a visual one for all those who can see.’
      • ‘The verse reminiscences are mildly amusing, and display Chaudhuri's ability to select the truly telling detail from the detritus of memory, but they are strictly in a minor key.’
      • ‘It's an expert comedy by a major director, in a minor key.’
      • ‘Described in the press notes as ‘a love story in a minor key,’ this will certainly strike a chord with fans of character drama.’
      • ‘This text is less trivial than it appears, and all Clair's ambivalence is revealed in a minor key.’
      • ‘In crucial respects, contemporary divisions among races or ethnicities, and between genders, merely replay in a minor key the historically antecedent and more violent ones fought among religions and creeds.’


Middle English from Latin, ‘smaller, less’; related to minuere ‘lessen’. The term originally denoted a Franciscan friar, suggested by the Latin name Fratres Minores (‘Lesser Brethren’), chosen by St Francis for the order.