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

  • prep. Mathematics Reduced by the subtraction of; less: Ten minus four is six.
  • prep. Informal Without: I went to work minus my ID.
  • adj. Mathematics Negative or on the negative part of a scale: a minus value; minus five degrees.
  • adj. Ranking on the lower end of a designated scale: a grade of A minus.
  • n. Mathematics The minus sign (-).
  • n. Mathematics A negative quantity.
  • n. A deficiency or defect.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • conj. Difference of the previous number from the following number.
  • prep. without.
  • adj. Negative.
  • adj. On the negative part of a scale.
  • adj. Ranking just below a designated rating.
  • n. A minus sign (−).
  • n. A negative quantity.
  • n. A defect or deficiency.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Less; requiring to be subtracted; negative.
  • n. A factor counted as a disadvantage; a loss or potential loss in a situation or plan.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Less(by a certain amount): followed by a noun as an apparent object (a preposition, by, to be supplied): as, the net amount is so much minus the waste or tare; 25 minus 9 is 16.
  • Less than nothing; belonging to the inverse or negative side, as of an account; lying in the direction from the origin of measurement opposite to ordinary quantities: below zero, or below the lowest point of positive or upward reckoning: as, a minus amount or sum (that, is, an amount or sum representing loss or debt); a minus quantity in an equation (that is, one having the minus sign before it); the tempera ture was minus twenty degrees (written —20, and read “twenty degrees below zero”)
  • Marking or yielding less than nothing or less than zero; negative in value or result: as, the minus sign (see def. 1).
  • Deprived or devoid of; not having; without, as something necessary: as, he escaped minus his hat and coat; a gun minus its lock.
  • Lacking positive value; wanting.

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

  • n. an arithmetic operation in which the difference between two numbers is calculated
  • adj. on the negative side or lower end of a scale
  • adj. involving disadvantage or harm


Middle English, from Latin minus, neuter of minor, less.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From the neuter form of Latin minor ("smaller"). (Wiktionary)



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