Definition of minority in English:



  • 1The smaller number or part, especially a number that is less than half the whole number.

    as modifier ‘a minority party’
    ‘harsher measures for the minority of really serious offenders’
    • ‘There would appear to be a whole range of compatibility issues with small programs that a minority of users have on their computer.’
    • ‘And for the minority of people who can't, having restricted licensing hours is highly unlikely to deter them.’
    • ‘He claimed those allegedly involved represented a very small minority of the district's Asian community.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, even though it may only be a small minority of young people who are going off the rails, the report reveals much that is worrying.’
    • ‘These laws are aimed at the minority of annoying customers and not at the lovely ones.’
    • ‘There would be only a tiny minority of Australians who would not support tough action being taken against terrorists.’
    • ‘It is an option only suited to a minority of tourists - independent travellers, prepared to rough it and able to speak Spanish.’
    • ‘The group is regarded as a fundamentalist organisation representing the views of the minority of Muslims.’
    • ‘There is overwhelming evidence that the Holocaust was real, yet a minority of ideologically driven historians still deny it.’
    • ‘The minority of settlers that chose to defy the ultimatums knew that the government meant business.’
    • ‘The A-level of old had a specific function: to test the minority of young people who would go on to higher education.’
    • ‘How do we detect the minority of patients who really would be frightened?’
    • ‘Perhaps because it got it from the founder of the state of Bulgaria, it is one of a minority of Sofia streets never to have been renamed.’
    • ‘Today, only a minority of islands bother with cutting peats.’
    • ‘Throughout this period, there had always been a minority of rebels who challenged the rule of the clock.’
    • ‘It is only in a minority of cases that the problem is stress-related.’
    • ‘So it looks as if, for the foreseeable future, unfurnished properties will comprise a tiny minority of the private rented market.’
    • ‘Operative repair is necessary for the minority of cases that don't respond to splinting.’
    • ‘Only a minority of organizing campaigns use such tactics effectively, she says.’
    • ‘Focusing on a minority of more profitable brands that are believed to have the greatest growth potential will actually help retailers.’
    1. 1.1 The number of votes cast for or by the smaller party in a legislative assembly.
      ‘a blocking minority of 23 votes’
      • ‘The balance of voting in the Council of Ministers had, up to this point, meant that a 'blocking minority' of 23 votes was required.’
      • ‘This means that a minority of just 26 votes can block a decision.’
    2. 1.2 A relatively small group of people, especially one commonly discriminated against in a community, society, or nation, differing from others in race, religion, language, or political persuasion.
      as modifier ‘minority rights’
      ‘representatives of ethnic minorities’
      • ‘This allowed minorities and ethnic communities to flourish here.’
      • ‘Most nations practice discrimination against foreigners and disfavor minorities within their countries.’
      • ‘The minority community generally feel that the scales of justice are tilted widely against them.’
      • ‘Can there be true secularism and democracy in Kashmir without giving the Pandit minority a political space?’
      • ‘By the year 2010, 50 per cent of people living in London are going to be from the minority communities.’
      • ‘There are two main religious minorities which apply for asylum in the United Kingdom.’
      • ‘The main Canadian minorities have better social conditions and benefit from a different pattern of government transfers to the poor.’
      • ‘The day Hinduism becomes a minority religion in India, it will be no different from Pakistan.’
      • ‘Equally important, we have to go address the growing minority populations in this country.’
      • ‘His hatred for minorities and communists comes out transparently.’
      • ‘In the main, not all minorities are beleaguered and not all non-minorities are privileged.’
      • ‘There are no real race or religion minorities, much less any clashes.’
      • ‘Which brings us back to the Sikhs, who before this incident in Birmingham were the model of a law-abiding minority community.’
      • ‘It seems extraordinary that as liberals we now feel secure enough to impose our own orthodoxies on the dissenting minorities within our community.’
      • ‘It wasn't even welfare reform, because that was popular with minorities.’
      • ‘There were no Tamil or Muslim candidates representing the country's main ethnic and religious minorities.’
      • ‘Many Roma communities have been settled for centuries as established minorities within countries that still don't accept them.’
      • ‘No wonder we never hear of any member of the minority community ever holding any position of importance in these countries.’
      • ‘Under what criteria is it acceptable for a political minority to take by force what it cannot win at the ballot box?’
      • ‘More than a third of the world's Muslim population live as minorities.’
  • 2The state or period of being under the age of full legal responsibility.

    • ‘Claims by children are not limited to those made during their minority; an adult child may seek an order.’
    • ‘The context was exceptional, for royal authority was weakened by the minority of Louis XIV.’
    • ‘During the claimant's minority the initial limitation period would not run.’
    youth, early years, early days, early life, infancy, babyhood, boyhood, girlhood, pre-teens, prepubescence, adolescence, teens, teenage years, young adulthood, immaturity
    View synonyms


  • be (or find oneself) in a minority of one

    • humorous Be the sole person to be in favor of or against something.

      • ‘‘I'll be watching England's match against Sweden at a friend's house in the privacy of a small World Cup party and yes, obviously, I'll be in a minority of one,’ he tells me.’
      • ‘Last night there was relief in Downing Street that the prime minister right had not ultimately found himself in a minority of one.’
      • ‘It is also true that, within the Government, let alone the Parliamentary Labour Party, he was in a minority of one in his support for top-up fees as the means by which to achieve that end.’
      • ‘Following the two recent by-elections in the Central and Western wards the Conservative administration is in a minority of one and could be outvoted if Labour and the Liberal Democrats do a deal.’
      • ‘As a self-proclaimed ‘moderniser’, I used to think that I was in a minority of one as a Euro-sceptic.’
      • ‘In this, as in other quarrels, Wilson found himself in a minority of one.’
      • ‘I may be in a minority of one, but wonder whether it might not have been better to recognize that he is a reformed person, and rather than hound him to readily accept him back into the community.’
      • ‘I have long been in a minority of one among my friends in preferring the Flat to National Hunt.’
      • ‘As new entrants to the European Union happily join the single currency, Britain could easily be in a minority of one among 25.’
      • ‘Lets put it this way, when Murali gets to 500 wickets, Warne will be in a minority of one in the list of most admired & gentlemen cricketers with 500 Test wickets.’
  • in the minority

    • Belonging to or constituting the smaller group or number.

      ‘those who acknowledge his influence are certainly in the minority’
      • ‘I am supporting the recommendations of the science committee and am currently in the minority.’
      • ‘Personally, I'd rather see debt repayment but I think I'm in the minority there.’
      • ‘More of my friends own stick shifts than not, so I've always felt in the minority.’
      • ‘You're also, however, running pretty puny databases and certainly in the minority.’
      • ‘While I'm definitely in the minority on this view, there is a small comfort to be had.’
      • ‘Pirates would have been my choice but I would have thought I was in the minority.’
      • ‘But she is in the minority, according to new research from Alliance & Leicester.’
      • ‘While impact-related injuries certainly do occur, they are by far in the minority.’
      • ‘There are poems which express a more conventional view of God, but they're certainly in the minority.’
      • ‘We are in the minority and the American people have assigned us a role to play.’


Late 15th century (in minority (sense 2)): from French minorité or medieval Latin minoritas, from Latin minor ‘smaller’ (see minor).