American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- adj. Of, relating to, located at, or constituting a margin, a border, or an edge: the marginal strip of beach; a marginal issue that had no bearing on the election results.
- adj. Being adjacent geographically: states marginal to Canada.
- adj. Written or printed in the margin of a book: marginal notes.
- adj. Barely within a lower standard or limit of quality: marginal writing ability; eked out a marginal existence.
- adj. Economics Having to do with enterprises that produce goods or are capable of producing goods at a rate that barely covers production costs.
- adj. Economics Relating to commodities thus manufactured and sold.
- adj. Psychology Relating to or located at the fringe of consciousness.
- n. One that is considered to be at a lower or outer limit, as of social acceptability: "is fascinated by marginals, by people who live on the edge of society” ( Dan Yakir).
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Pertaining to a margin; situated on or near the margin; specifically, written or printed in the margin of a page: as, a marginal note or gloss.
- n. One of the bones which form the border of the carapace in turtles, except in the Trionychoidea, in which they are lacking: same as marginal plate. See cut under carapace, 1.
- n. In the ammonoid cephalopods, or ammonites, one of the small inflections which sometimes develop on the sides of the antisiphonal lobe of the sutures.
- n. In conchology, one of the outermost teeth on the radula of gastropods; one of the uncini.
- n. In asteroid echinoderms, one of the series of thick plates round the margin of the arms and disk.
- adj. not comparable Of, relating to, or located at or near a margin or edge; also figurative usages of location and margin (edge).
- adj. comparable Determined by a small margin; having a salient characteristic determined by a small margin.
- n. Something that is marginal.
- n. A constituency won with a small margin.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. Of or pertaining to a margin.
- adj. Written or printed in the margin.
- adj. At the lower limit; barely sufficient.
- adj. of questionable or minimal quality
- adj. at or constituting a border or edge
- adj. just barely adequate or within a lower limit
- adj. producing at a rate that barely covers production costs
“I think Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, West Virginia -- all those what I call marginal states where the pivotal states you're going to see the kind of fluctuations that we're seeing.”
“European biofuels developers are buying large tracts of what they call "marginal land" in Africa with the aim of cultivating biofuel crops, particularly the woody bush known as jatropha.”
“Prospective buyers, be they another company or a group of investors, hope to win the bid for a company with what we call a marginal difference - meaning, they hope to pay one pound more than their competitors offered.”
“The second is what he calls "marginal missions" - stop doing things that are useful but not essential.”
“The industry proposes a 5 percent tax rate after the initial five-year period, but with a 1 percent rate for what it calls marginal wells.”
“It does the world no good for members in marginal seats to put districts at risk over unimportant things, or lost causes, but casting tough votes on the big issues is what members of congress come to Washington to do.”
“DEATH TO ALL STEP-FUNCTIONS! the logic is clear and simple, to achieve true, well-defined progressivity, the increase in marginal utility of every infinitismal increment of income must be accounted for with a corresponding infinitismal increase in TAX RATE.”
“He testified against increased penalties for sex offenses because he realized that they destroyed the ability of prosecutors to get deals in marginal cases.”
“Dean would be pulling out all stops to get Dems elected which would include throwing a lot of money at the Dems in marginal districts.”
“Moreover, we were adamant that only permanent cuts in marginal tax rates would stimulate the economy.”
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