Definition of minimal in English:



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

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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In minimal art, it would seem, are the latent possibilities, the alternatives, which are the essence of creation.’
    • ‘Agnes Martin's austerely minimal grid paintings made a profound impression on him.’
    • ‘In the first two rooms of the gallery, Samson Mudzunga presents a minimal show that somehow suits his enigmatic nature.’
    • ‘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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 3Music
    Characterized by the repetition and gradual alteration of short phrases.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And by the sound of it, he wants the music to stay minimal, yet supremely intense and evocative.’
  • 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.