Definition of marginal in US English:

marginal

adjective

  • 1Relating to or situated at the edge or margin of something.

    ‘marginal notes’
    • ‘The White Sea is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean connected with the Barents Sea by a shallow strait.’
    1. 1.1 Of secondary or minor importance; not central.
      ‘it seems likely to make only a marginal difference’
      ‘a marginal criminal element’
      • ‘Types of work which are now marginal were still important.’
      • ‘Given these numbers it is clear that clemency was marginal to the criminal justice system.’
      • ‘The conservatives condemned them as a threat to proper socialist control; the reformers saw them as of marginal importance and largely a waste of resources.’
      • ‘Social network connections provide marginal members of the elite with the capacity to translate their interests into action.’
      • ‘In The Dew Breaker each separate story is a fragment of another; a marginal character or incident in an episode becomes central to a later one.’
      • ‘Such is the nature of American fencing that even at the nationals, marginal swashbucklers like me can end up dueling an Olympian.’
      • ‘Consequently, the ectopterygoids are pushed out of the way and become fairly marginal elements.’
      • ‘Though the use of the horse as a draught animal was spreading, this was of marginal importance.’
      • ‘But for all the dramatic swings between the various parties, there are only marginal political differences between them.’
      • ‘At low growth irradiance, light was the most important determinant of acclimation, while the effect of low nutrient supply was of only marginal importance.’
      • ‘This could have been the basis of an interesting discussion of how marginal or central such songs were to Finland.’
      • ‘Privately, kin groups are important, but politically and economically, they play a marginal role.’
      • ‘In the same way women are central - not marginal - to the process of reproduction.’
      • ‘The added hassle of tighter security plays only a marginal role in explaining lower business travel.’
      • ‘Such creative financing is letting even marginal buyers purchase houses with price tags that used to appeal only to the rich and famous.’
      • ‘UBS is even carving out a position in U.S. investment banking, where it was once a marginal player.’
      • ‘Cairy listened and made mental notes of what even seemed to be marginal important information.’
      • ‘He lambasted software companies for piling on marginal features in incessant upgrades that can downgrade user efficiency.’
      • ‘In 1914, the submarine was seen as a weapon of marginal importance.’
      • ‘Communities can also demand that PE be treated as more than a marginal school pursuit.’
      slight, small, tiny, minute, low, minor, insignificant, minimal, negligible
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 (of a decision or distinction) very narrow.
      ‘a marginal offside decision’
      • ‘This marginal difference in formula makes no difference in this case.’
      • ‘The marginal difference in the growth pattern, as we will see a bit later, has more to do with socio-economic factors than religious ones.’
      • ‘The initial decision to extend the case was marginal, as was the decision to grant indefinite leave to remain two weeks later.’
      • ‘For one of these consumers the decision has been a marginal one, and had the price been any higher the purchase would not be made.’
      • ‘Aren't we really discussing some small, marginal difference in income here?’
      • ‘Which one a student decides to attend is a personal choice that should be influenced not a whit by a marginal difference in rankings.’
      • ‘However, to the dismay of the home-support a marginal offside decision went United's way.’
      • ‘It was tough on Pres Milltown who gave it everything but they just gave St Pats too big a lead and had little luck with marginal decisions.’
      • ‘I've been bracketing between 1-4 sec exposures, and the differences are marginal.’
      • ‘On such small margins - and this was a marginal decision - are reputations saved.’
      • ‘There was a marginal difference in the levels of support among urban voters compared to rural ones, with city dwellers only slightly more likely to vote no.’
      • ‘Those figures showed a very marginal lead as you note and we can take that back.’
      • ‘Any righteous indignation on the part of the Americans at that stage was undermined by replays which suggested the offside decision was marginal.’
      • ‘We got to get in the show, but I think if you start 23rd or 33rd, over 500 miles it's going to be very marginal difference.’
      • ‘You stood by me when I missed the first prize by a marginal difference of two marks, and you made me feel that I still had reasons to be proud of myself.’
      • ‘I suspect that the present approach, despite being incredibly expensive, is making only a marginal difference.’
      • ‘It seems to me, at the moment in this case, that it is not as if this is a marginal difference of a small degree.’
      • ‘Fixed fees also have no impact on marginal decisions about whether to drive more or fewer miles in a year, since annual mileage is not related to the tax rate.’
      • ‘There were marginal differences in the side effects, with no statistical significance.’
      borderline, disputable, questionable, doubtful
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 Relating to water adjacent to the land's edge or coast.
      ‘water lilies and marginal aquatics’
      • ‘All dead and yellowing growth should be cleared from marginal plants and water lilies, and submerged aquatics that are getting out of hand should be thinned out.’
      • ‘He used pole and maggot in the marginal slack water for a mixed net of small roach and perch scaling 3lb 9oz.’
      • ‘A bed of reed-mace extended a few feet out on a shallower marginal shelf before the drop off into the deeper water.’
      • ‘Beware of the razor-edged oyster-shells or the stinging fish (theli meen) in the muddy marginal waters.’
      • ‘Keep the hammer down and do not squander the early start behind shrimp boats in marginal water.’
      • ‘These beasts lived largely in the sea and marginal river basins, where they hunted prey with their formidable crab-like claws.’
      • ‘As a plus, marginal water clarity can be productive, especially with live bait.’
    4. 1.4 (chiefly of costs or benefits) relating to or resulting from small or unit changes.
      • ‘In other words, we assume that the marginal and average costs of production remain equal and constant as output expands.’
      • ‘By the 1990s, the use of frequent flyer programmes had become more widespread and their revenue benefits marginal.’
      • ‘The variable, total, marginal and average costs are calculated along with total revenue and profit or loss.’
      • ‘Economic theory would dictate use of marginal price, but average price is often the only price measure available.’
      • ‘If he is rational, he will choose a price that maximizes his profit, the price that equates marginal cost with marginal revenue.’
      • ‘Thus short-run marginal costing rather than LRMC is the appropriate pricing strategy.’
      • ‘Utility accounting is notoriously arcane and based on aggregate, not marginal, costs.’
      • ‘Dramatic congestion relief can be obtained by applying short-run marginal social cost pricing to street networks.’
      • ‘You have gone back to define market power, I thought, as the ability to charge above marginal prices.’
      • ‘In each country, the long-run perfectly competitive equilibrium price equals marginal production cost plus the per unit tax.’
      • ‘Increasing rates of reproduction will drop marginal production costs and, therefore, prices.’
      • ‘In the week ended June 19, first-time claims for jobless benefits recorded a marginal increase, at 351,000.’
      • ‘Hyundai Motor India has announced a marginal price increase for all its cars across segments to reflect the incidence of Education Cess.’
      • ‘In the past the market mispriced oil due to distortions of low marginal production costs.’
    5. 1.5 (of taxation) relating to increases in income.
      • ‘There are people in this country who pay effective marginal taxation rates that are far higher than this legislation implies.’
      • ‘Earned - income tax credits topped up wages and reduced the high marginal tax rates that would otherwise occur as benefits were withdrawn.’
      • ‘He said the effective marginal taxation rate should be 105 percent.’
      • ‘Everybody seems to think that progressive income tax is a good idea, with the marginal tax rate rising on higher incomes.’
      • ‘Under the old system, tax allowances were worth more to a higher rate taxpayer, who received relief at the marginal rate of income tax.’
      • ‘Since the tax refund is based on the taxpayer's marginal tax rate, it's prudent in some cases to defer deducting the RRSP contribution.’
      • ‘However the stated purpose of the tax cuts is to increase economic growth, and this is determined by the marginal tax rate.’
      • ‘However, when the earned income credit is phased out, there is a dramatic increase in a couple's marginal tax rate.’
      • ‘If its discovered that someone hid hot money - so there was no tax paid - the entire amount becomes subject to income tax at the marginal rate.’
      • ‘First of all, as the marginal income tax rate increases, the incentive to work decreases as less and less of one's earnings are actually kept for their own use.’
      • ‘People on $60,000 face an effective marginal taxation rate of around 90c in the dollar.’
      • ‘BC now has the second lowest top marginal personal income tax rate in Canada, and the fourth lowest general corporate income tax rate.’
      • ‘But the Minister in the chair should tell us what will happen to that family's effective marginal taxation rate as its income goes a bit higher.’
      • ‘The tax cuts passed by Congress last year lowered the marginal tax rate for most taxpayers.’
      • ‘You can claim money spent on doctors, physiotherapists, psychiatrists and qualifying medicines at your marginal rate of income tax.’
      • ‘Gross it up by your marginal rate of income tax and you see the full horrors of the Stealth Tax policy.’
      • ‘There should be a capital gain on maturity which will attract capital gains tax rather than an investor's marginal rate of income tax.’
      • ‘The employee is charged income tax at the marginal tax rate on the difference between the interest rate paid on the loan and the deemed rate as outlined above.’
      • ‘Pensions are the most tax-efficient way to invest, because tax relief at a member's marginal rate of income tax is allowed.’
      • ‘It is therefore highly necessary to reduce the effective marginal taxation to enhance the incentive to work.’
    6. 1.6British (of a parliamentary seat) having a small majority and therefore at risk in an election.
      • ‘Catching these ‘missing voters’ could make a significant difference to the results of elections in marginal seats.’
      • ‘Leeds North West, which encompasses Otley, has been targeted by the Liberal Democrats and Tories as a key marginal seat in their election campaigns.’
      • ‘In fact, there was little turnover of seats at general elections and the two main parties concentrated on the fifty or so marginal seats which decided the outcome of a general election.’
      • ‘The ballot boxes may not open until 5 May, but the postal votes on which many of Labour's most marginal seats will be decided began dropping on to doormats last weekend.’
      • ‘Add to this the fact that many of their marginal seats are electing councillors, and this is a big test.’
      • ‘The final result of the general election was declared yesterday as Labour clung on to the marginal seat of Harlow by just 97 votes.’
      • ‘A Tory spokesman claimed ministers had hoped to keep a lid on the crisis, in a region full of marginal seats, until after the election on May 5.’
      • ‘Labour, having survived this year's election, has been left with a heavy crop of marginal seats to defend.’
      • ‘He now plans to vote Labour in the marginal seat of Battersea.’
      • ‘One returning officer in the marginal seat of Dorset South said hundreds of voters had rung up to cancel postal votes owing to fears of fraud.’
      • ‘He said he was determined to visit each of the party's key marginal seats at least once before the next election.’
      • ‘Conservative voters in marginal seats: Grit your teeth and vote Labour.’
      • ‘The closeness of voting in marginal seats in both state and federal elections demonstrates that our individual votes do matter.’
      • ‘Nationally that figures has soared by 500 per cent in marginal seats in the election.’
      • ‘No longer would elections be decided in a small number of marginal seats - parties would be forced to campaign for every last vote, everywhere.’
      • ‘By spending time in the places with marginal seats, he aims to find out what the voters really want and what the towns and surrounding areas really need.’
      • ‘Once upon a time his own seat was quite marginal, and it was often touch and go on election night - him never knowing if he was going to stay in parliament or not.’
      • ‘It was only restarted after Labour realised it was in a marginal seat and could be a vote-winner in the next election.’
      • ‘It is true that the polls show very little movement either way, but there are plenty of marginal seats in Victoria and in a close election they cannot be ignored.’
      • ‘Tories are setting up a war unit to target three marginal General Election seats in Bradford, it was revealed today.’
    7. 1.7 Close to the limit of profitability, especially through difficulty of exploitation.
      ‘marginal farmland’
      • ‘Africa is so vast and fertile that we don't need GM crops to increase yields or to enable us to use marginal land.’
      • ‘But the crops promoted are often inappropriate, the lands used marginal and the returns diminishing.’
      • ‘Let us assume a two-factor (land and labour) economy, in which a plot of marginal land yields no rent.’
      • ‘Majors couldn't be bothered with marginal fields and were willing to sell off production.’
      • ‘He notes that the northern grazing industry has usually been economically marginal, rarely very profitable.’
      • ‘The result of this is that any such marginal parcel of land will be sold at the market price determined by the opportunity cost of land.’
      • ‘Landowners can offer eligible cropland and marginal pastureland in these watersheds.’
      • ‘Farmers originally received grants to plant forests on marginal farmland.’
      • ‘GM can make crops more efficient, putting marginal land back to nature and reducing pesticide use.’
      • ‘For example, aluminum-tolerant crops could allow farmers in developing nations to plant on marginal lands.’
      • ‘A poor man is driven on to marginal land; he is not suffered to live on good land at a low rent.’
      • ‘In some cases the provision grounds comprised marginal, unproductive land; in others the soil was ideal for food crops.’
      • ‘And that rent is still a differential relative to the output at marginal land.’
      • ‘How do we begin to value the agriculture of these marginal lands so that it can compete in this unfair internal market?’
      • ‘Thus, the model indicated that marginal land could be put into the conservation reservation program or similar other programs.’
      • ‘Underneath that wide smile, he scares marginal McDonald's store operators with his frankness.’

noun

  • A plant that grows in water adjacent to the edge of land.

    • ‘They correspond to facets for the articulation of two rows of spines along lateral edges of marginals.’
    • ‘Whoever made the original choice of plants did a splendid job, leaving us a mix of marginals, surface-leaved and submerged oxygenating plants, all of which I would highly recommend to fellow novice pond keepers.’
    • ‘There is a lot of colour in the planting of the marginals around the pond and the fragrance from them was divine.’
    • ‘However, an important difference is in the shape of the crescentic facets on the proximal edge of the marginals.’

Origin

Late 16th century: from medieval Latin marginalis, from margo, margin- (see margin).

Pronunciation

marginal

/ˈmɑrdʒənl//ˈmärjənl/