Definition of minimal in English:



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

    ‘production costs are minimal’
    ‘a minimal amount of information’
    • ‘The worm is spreading modestly and causing only a minimal amount of damage.’
    • ‘While I scanned the place, Ryan asked me some questions which I answered with the minimal amount of information.’
    • ‘Budget deficits are also the norm - the tax base is insufficient to cover minimal government spending.’
    • ‘Despite his minimal knowledge of music, Hoss could tell he was off key and slurring the words.’
    • ‘The kitchen was small and cramped, with minimal counter space and cabinetry.’
    • ‘The poorest schools, such as Detroit Public Schools, get this minimal amount.’
    • ‘Within the space of a week, and with minimal amount of application, it is possible to gain a skill of incalculable worth.’
    • ‘With a limited budget finding performers willing to travel and perform for a minimal amount proved difficult.’
    • ‘With a minimal amount of research you can make a sound decision on who to do business with.’
    • ‘He stressed, however, that this easing of restrictions was only minimal.’
    • ‘Instead, a year of planning has gone into ensuring the absolute minimal amount of disruption to traffic while the work has been in progress.’
    • ‘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 exterior differences were minimal, amounting to some new alloys and revised indicator lamp housings.’
    • ‘For a low-budget Indonesian film, preceded by minimal hype, this was nothing short of a triumph.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There is a minimal amount of violence and very little blood.’
    • ‘Moreover, the nation has got on well with only a minimal amount of decisive political leadership.’
    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 the first two rooms of the gallery, Samson Mudzunga presents a minimal show that somehow suits his enigmatic nature.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Some of the pieces were minimal phrases, and the players would improvise over it many times.’
    • ‘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’
    • ‘a minimal pair in one language or dialect may not be a minimal pair in another one.’
    • ‘In Jamaican Creole, tone is lexical in a few minimal pairs.’


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