Definition of remainder in English:



  • 1A part of something that is left over when other parts have been completed, used, or dealt with.

    ‘leave a few mushrooms for garnish and slice the remainder’
    ‘the remainder of the year’
    • ‘The remainder is owned by processing giant, Dairy Crest.’
    • ‘It may have been opening night jitters, but that doesn't excuse the remainder of the cast from constantly tripping over their lines.’
    • ‘The remainders have been classified in three groups.’
    • ‘The remainder of the antibody molecule is more constant between different antibodies.’
    • ‘Alcoa will take at least a 60 per cent ownership stake in the smelter, with a state-owned enterprise holding the remainder, the web site said.’
    • ‘The remainder is owned by the three Dublin doctors.’
    • ‘The remainder comes from wholesale activities, funds management and from life assurance and pensions.’
    • ‘The remainder of the $6 million was committed by the presidents and chancellors of the participating universities.’
    • ‘The remainder came from other disciplines, with general surgery making up 26%.’
    • ‘He pointed out that while a few employees work part time to maintain the building and the grounds, management has found other jobs for the remainder of their former employees.’
    • ‘Almost half the land is in agricultural use, with much of the remainder consisting of forests and high mountains.’
    • ‘York generates 150,000 tonnes - the remainder comes from as far afield as Manchester.’
    • ‘The remainder consists of fertile coastal and riverine lowlands, including a narrow sandy and marshy coastal plain.’
    • ‘The remainder consists predominantly of members of thirty-six groups with populations of 100,000 or more.’
    • ‘Cut the remainder of the lemon into slices then lay the lemon slices on top of the fish.’
    • ‘Thinly slice half the strawberries, mash or sieve the remainder and mix with the cream, lemon juice, sherry or wine and sugar.’
    • ‘The remainder is then left to the family when the person dies.’
    • ‘He pleaded guilty to six yesterday with the remainder being ordered to remain on file.’
    • ‘The remainder comprises taxes on insurance premiums and car maintenance.’
    • ‘Ninety-five percent is used as pizza topping, while the remainder is made into sliced or ‘portioned’ cheese.’
    residue, balance, remaining number, remaining part, remaining quantity, number left over, part left over, quantity left over, number that is left over, part that is left over, quantity that is left over, rest, others, those left, remnant, remnants, rump, surplus, difference, extra, excess, superfluity, overflow, overspill, additional material, additional people, additional things, extra material, extra people, extra things
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Mathematics The number which is left over in a division in which one quantity does not exactly divide another.
      ‘23 divided by 3 is 7, remainder 2’
      • ‘Such a sequence consists of the remainders, or residues, after squaring consecutive whole numbers, then dividing them by a given prime number.’
      • ‘Euclid's algorithm is here applied to 720 and 168: Just keep dividing and noting remainders so that the larger number 720 is 4 lots of the smaller number 168 with 48 left over.’
      • ‘Gersonides had the idea of looking at remainders after division of powers of 3 by 8 and powers of 2 by 8.’
      • ‘The square of any prime number greater than 3 leaves a remainder of 1 when divided by 12.’
      • ‘Modular arithmetic involves working with the remainders generated by division.’
    2. 1.2 A copy of a book left unsold when demand has fallen.
      ‘it seems that buying and selling remainders is the lowest form of bookselling’
      • ‘Have a look in the remainder bookshop and you'll find cheap reprints of the original texts.’
      • ‘It seems that presswork was already completed on a number of these quartos, which are correctly dated ‘1619’, but others were falsely dated, probably with the intention to pass them off as remainders of earlier editions.’
      • ‘His books are already weighing down the remainder tables.’
      • ‘Today, they had disappeared without a trace, not even in evidence on a remainder table.’
  • 2Law
    A property interest that becomes effective in possession only when a prior interest (created at the same time) ends.

    • ‘Kathleen's prior life interest would not prevent a remainder from vesting.’
    • ‘Your interest is called a remainder interest, and it comes after your stepmother's life estate, which gives her the right to live there rent free for the rest of her life.’
    • ‘Disclaimer of a life interest brings forward the remainder interest into the possession of the holder of that interest.’
    • ‘I have a remainder interest in a property where someone else has a life estate.’
    • ‘If, however, the grantor were to give away his full estate to a series of people, he will have kept no reversion in the property and the future interests he has created will be called remainders.’


[with object]
  • Dispose of (a book left unsold) at a reduced price.

    ‘titles are being remaindered increasingly quickly to save on overheads’
    • ‘I had about 13 books that would have been remaindered if DC hadn't come along.’
    • ‘With space at a premium, books have to justify quickly their presence or be cruelly remaindered.’
    • ‘They'll maybe write a book of poems that might, if they're lucky, be published in a run of 300, of which they'll buy 40 and another 150 will be remaindered.’
    • ‘In a market in which even bestsellers are quickly remaindered and then tossed into the bin of oblivion, the work of experimental women writers is easily lost.’
    • ‘But while some copies of my book had to be remaindered, it is not necessary to change the title to The Three Classic Rules of Banking: I always had a fifth rule in reserve.’
    • ‘On the downside, it's the first in a trio of hits entitled: ‘Another Lee Randall book for bid’, signalling a dialogue among Bolton fans eager to snatch up remaindered copies of the book.’
    • ‘It looks like the kind of book you'd find remaindered in the front shelves of Barnes and Noble where they keep all the bargain books corralled together.’
    • ‘Wait till it is remaindered, as it no doubt will be.’
    • ‘It's the kind of bookshop where remaindering occurs.’
    • ‘It hardly sold a copy even when it was heavily discounted and then remaindered.’
    • ‘All too soon, you hear that your book is remaindered, or perhaps, sold out, never to be reprinted.’
    • ‘These translations remain in the bookshops for a year at the most and are then remaindered.’


Late Middle English (in remainder (sense 2 of the noun)): from Anglo-Norman French, from Latin remanere (see remain).