Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The smaller in number of two groups forming a whole.
  • n. A group or party having fewer than a controlling number of votes.
  • n. A racial, religious, political, national, or other group thought to be different from the larger group of which it is part.
  • n. A group having little power or representation relative to other groups within a society.
  • n. A member of one of these groups. See Usage Note at color.
  • n. Law The state or period of being under legal age: still in her minority.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Empowered by or representing a minority (usually a plurality) of votes cast, legislative seats, etc., rather than an outright majority thereof.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The state of being a minor, or under age.
  • n. State of being less or small.
  • n. The smaller number; -- opposed to majority.
  • n. Those members of a legislature that belong to the political party which is in the minority in that institution.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The state of being minor or smaller.
  • n. The minor part in number; the smaller of two aggregates into which a whole is divided numerically; a number less than half: opposed to majority.
  • n. Specifically The smaller of two related aggregates of persons; the minor division of any whole number of persons: as, the rights of the minority; government by minorities.
  • n. The state of being a minor or not come of age, and therefore legally incapacitated for the performance of certain acts; the period or interval before one is of full age, generally the period from birth until twenty-one years of age (see age, 3); in Scots law, the interval between pupilarity and majority. See minor, n., 1.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. any age prior to the legal age
  • n. being or relating to the smaller in number of two parts
  • n. a group of people who differ racially or politically from a larger group of which it is a part

Etymologies

French minorité, from Medieval Latin minōritās, from Latin minor, smaller; see minor.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle French minorité, and its source Late Latin minoritas, from Latin minor. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The powerful Socialist and revolutionary minority created in industrial communities by equal suffrage and a democratic form of government, _as long as it remains distinctly a minority_, is unable to injure the combined forces of capitalism, while it furnishes a useful and invaluable club by which the progressive capitalists can threaten and overwhelm the reactionaries.

    Socialism As It Is A Survey of The World-Wide Revolutionary Movement

  • The term minority itself is far more likely to be applied to blacks and Asians than to Jews, even though in a worldwide sense Jews fit the definition far better, and even within the United States are far fewer in number than blacks.

    Archive 2008-04-01

  • So recently in the comments section of my blog, one of my readers said , “can we stop using the term minority now. it is obvious that whites are the minority.”

    Can we find a better term for “Marginalized” People?

  • March 26th, 2006 at 12:04 am blog, one of my readers said, “can we stop using the term minority now. it is obvious that whites are the minority.”

    Can we find a better term for “Marginalized” People?

  • I am by no means here to defend the term minority, minorities, or majorities.

    Can we find a better term for “Marginalized” People?

  • I was a little sympathetic to the argument, but my definition of the term minority was much broader than the way my student was using it, and I used it in a much broader way then the term is used by the typical American.

    Can we find a better term for “Marginalized” People?

  • In sociology (and several other academic disciplines.) the term minority group(s), refers to any group that has less access to power; in other words any group that is underrepresented in the power structure of a country or culture.

    Can we find a better term for “Marginalized” People?

  • The San Diego City Council last month voted to strike the word minority from official use.

    The Right Word in the Right Place at the Right Time

  • I just have to ask, at what point in time do they drop the term minority from their description?

    The TexasFred Blog

  • Noncontrolling Interests in Consolidated Financial Statements, an amendment of ARB No. 51 the term minority interest has been replaced with noncontrolling interests and the categorization of noncontrolling interests is now shown below net income.

    The Earth Times Online Newspaper

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