Definition of minimal in English:



  • 1Of a minimum amount, quantity, or degree; negligible.

    ‘the aircraft suffered minimal damage’
    ‘production costs are minimal’
    • ‘Moreover, the nation has got on well with only a minimal amount of decisive political leadership.’
    • ‘There is a minimal amount of violence and very little blood.’
    • ‘We also see the band on tour throughout New Zealand and Asia with a minimal amount of live footage.’
    • ‘As a result, we could preserve and extend the advantages of a free market with a minimal amount of coercion.’
    • ‘With a minimal amount of research you can make a sound decision on who to do business with.’
    • ‘The poorest schools, such as Detroit Public Schools, get this minimal amount.’
    • ‘Instead, a year of planning has gone into ensuring the absolute minimal amount of disruption to traffic while the work has been in progress.’
    • ‘For a low-budget Indonesian film, preceded by minimal hype, this was nothing short of a triumph.’
    • ‘The exterior differences were minimal, amounting to some new alloys and revised indicator lamp housings.’
    • ‘The worm is spreading modestly and causing only a minimal amount of damage.’
    • ‘It's just a shame that they did not see fit to at least include a minimal amount of this information on the disc.’
    • ‘The kitchen was small and cramped, with minimal counter space and cabinetry.’
    • ‘While I scanned the place, Ryan asked me some questions which I answered with the minimal amount of information.’
    • ‘Despite his minimal knowledge of music, Hoss could tell he was off key and slurring the words.’
    • ‘He stressed, however, that this easing of restrictions was only minimal.’
    • ‘Budget deficits are also the norm - the tax base is insufficient to cover minimal government spending.’
    • ‘Within the space of a week, and with minimal amount of application, it is possible to gain a skill of incalculable worth.’
    • ‘On Monday I started myself on a diet where I am eating meat, fruit and vegetables with a minimal amount of carbohydrates.’
    • ‘It can be the backbone of many meals while adding only a minimal amount of fat.’
    • ‘With a limited budget finding performers willing to travel and perform for a minimal amount proved difficult.’
    very little, minimum, the smallest amount of
    View synonyms
  • 2Art
    Characterized by the use of simple forms or structures, especially geometric or massive ones.

    • ‘In the first two rooms of the gallery, Samson Mudzunga presents a minimal show that somehow suits his enigmatic nature.’
    • ‘Agnes Martin's austerely minimal grid paintings made a profound impression on him.’
    • ‘In minimal art, it would seem, are the latent possibilities, the alternatives, which are the essence of creation.’
    • ‘His career did not take off until the early 1960s, when he turned to sculpture and became one of the leading exponents of minimal art.’
    • ‘Although minimal in form, these are some of Kelly's most interesting paintings to date.’
    1. 2.1 Characterized by simplicity and lack of adornment or decoration.
      ‘minimal, simple evening dresses in luxurious fabrics’
      • ‘But that artist's work was so minimal that Michelangelo was able to fashion a figure, ultimately, of his creation.’
      • ‘The minimal cover lines, a minimalist Jason Wu frock, minimalist makeup: all a class act.’
      • ‘Light and exquisitely crafted and delicate jewellery with smooth curves and floral designs in geometric forms made with minimal metal look and set with tiny crystals have been specially designed.’
  • 3Music
    Characterized by the repetition and gradual alteration of short phrases.

    • ‘And by the sound of it, he wants the music to stay minimal, yet supremely intense and evocative.’
    • ‘Some of the pieces were minimal phrases, and the players would improvise over it many times.’
    • ‘We know where we come from; we know what we like and I love the responsibility of bringing minimal music to new people.’
    • ‘It is a reminder of how revolutionary their fast, loud and minimal music initially was.’
    • ‘R. Kelly does the vocals for all six characters over minimal music.’
  • 4Linguistics
    (of a pair of forms) distinguished by only one feature.

    ‘‘p’ and ‘b’ are a minimal pair, distinguished by the feature of voicing’
    • ‘In Jamaican Creole, tone is lexical in a few minimal pairs.’
    • ‘a minimal pair in one language or dialect may not be a minimal pair in another one.’


Mid 17th century: from Latin minimus ‘smallest’ + -al.