Definitions

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

  • n. A small, moderate, or token amount: "England still expects a modicum of eccentricity in its artists” ( Ian Jack).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small, modest or trifling amount.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A little; a small quantity; a measured supply.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A small or moderate quantity; a scanty or meager allowance; a limited amount or degree.
  • n. Any small thing; a diminutive person.
  • n. Something eaten to provoke thirst.

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

  • n. a small or moderate or token amount

Etymologies

Middle English, from Latin, from neuter of modicus, moderate, from modus, measure; see med- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From the Latin modicum ("a little"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I love the word modicum, thanks for using it in your post.

    Gender on the Tee Ball Field

  • I’m not sure it’s unfair to presume that one comes to that job with a certain modicum of confidence in one’s own judgment.

    Matthew Yglesias » Edwards, Shrum, and the War

  • Youth would not understand it were it to speak a modicum of its thoughts.

    Over the Fireside with Silent Friends

  • This is not a woman who has displayed any kind of modicum of sensibility or anything.

    CNN Transcript Mar 23, 2009

  • Long-term outcomes showed no significant differences, as long as there was even a "modicum" of such things as loving, setting of rules and teaching.

    An Emotional Moonscape

  • The Omniscient One is certainly possessed of an amount of knowledge equal to that small modicum which is all that a rational and immortal soul can boast of in reference to itself.

    Sermons to the Natural Man

  • "modicum" of Arab unity before a potentially hawkish new Israeli cabinet, Safa said.

    The Daily Star > News Feed

  • However, that highly religious person would likely find consensus with anyone who has a modicum of religious belief.

    American Grace

  • As the century waned, the glamorous old-style safari, which could be defined as “traveling by caravan to rough it near wildlife in Africa, but not without access to a porcelain tea set,” had been replaced by the peppy new-style safari, “nature travel anywhere, so long as it involves unconventional transport and a modicum of hazard offset by pampering.”

    The English Is Coming!

  • Of course, these accounts often paid paltry interest—and hopefully the new services will do better by consumers—but their value was in giving you a modicum of control over your financial life.

    How to Keep Your Money Resolutions

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Comments

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  • I have my health, a choice of books, needlework and good weather—with only a modicum of good sense, one should go a long way like that.

    Frances Mossiker, Madame de Sévigné

    August 25, 2011