Definition of minuscule in English:

minuscule

(also miniscule)

adjective

  • 1Extremely small; tiny.

    ‘a minuscule fragment of DNA’
    • ‘The minuscule creatures toil endlessly completely unaware that they are being watched and that, with a simple tap on the glass by the giant undetected observer, what would amount to half a life time's work for an ant could be destroyed.’
    • ‘In his Parisian workshop, the elegant Bartholdi and truly minuscule workers pose next to a gigantic foot or an ear, of which the actual-size mold is shown with the photos.’
    • ‘There are, though, pointers to be found in minuscule changes of facial expression that may last as little as one twenty-fifth of a second, in speech and tone of voice and perhaps most of all in unconscious gestures.’
    • ‘They write that Australia's reaction to refugees is not in proportion with the actual number arriving here - which is minuscule compared to that faced by North America and Europe.’
    • ‘Car nuts will appreciate Capsule Tomica, a series of tiny-but-detailed toy cars that measure about 1.5 inches long and come inside equally minuscule boxes printed with Japanese text.’
    • ‘While at the moment the proportion of the human genome being inserted into the genome of nonhumans is minuscule, at what stage will we start ascribing transgenic animals carrying human genes, the same values we ascribe to humans?’
    • ‘It wasn't too long ago that Dean was the Rodney Dangerfield of the Democratic race, the long-shot candidate from a minuscule state who didn't get much respect.’
    • ‘Trainers like them because it means they can justify keeping the horses in their yard and though the prize money is minuscule it's still better than nothing and there's always the chance of a wee betting coup to inflate the income.’
    • ‘But he acknowledged global deaths from climate change were minuscule compared with the total number of deaths a year, which the WHO puts at 56 million.’
    • ‘Deprived even of the minuscule readership she had once been able to count on, unable to obtain news of her husband and daughter who had been summarily arrested, Tsvetaeva hanged herself two years later, in 1941.’
    • ‘It's not a minuscule scrap of faded black cotton, it's my Preen skirt - which, incidentally, looks great with the Gucci boots I bought while a taxi waited outside en route to a lunch.’
    • ‘Their counterparts are the more poetically named lacecaps, whose papery bracts (flower-like modified leaves) circle a mauve to pink head of minuscule flowers.’
    • ‘Some snakes, such as pythons, retain tiny leg bones, which may be visible as minuscule claws at the base of the tail.’
    • ‘The thought of Pakistan unleashing only theatre nuclear weapons (hence, nuclear safety rooms) is absurd, given the minuscule distances that separate the two countries.’
    • ‘It is much larger than the average minuscule Japanese hotel room, with the convenience of a fully fitted kitchen but without the hassle of having to do the washing-up - dishwashers and housekeeping teams are on hand to take care of all that.’
    • ‘We see the same hypocrisy when the U.S. military, after dislocating millions of people from their means of sustenance by threatening war, drops a minuscule amount of food packets onto ground riddled with landmines.’
    • ‘Mike Griffin, owner of Honey Martin's on Sherbrooke W., went through a five-year battle to keep music alive at his minuscule bar (which is large enough for a musician or two).’
    • ‘Upon entering, however, there was a man on a minuscule stage, reading from a tiny index card.’
    • ‘Water striders are covered stem to stem and toe to toe with a layer of tiny, waxy, feathery hairs in which countless minuscule air bubbles are trapped.’
    • ‘Currently these businesses contribute a minuscule amount to the total revenues.’
    tiny, minute, microscopic, nanoscopic, very small, little, micro, diminutive, miniature, baby, toy, midget, dwarf, pygmy, lilliputian, infinitesimal
    wee
    teeny, teeny-weeny, teensy, teensy-weensy, weeny, itsy-bitsy, itty-bitty, eensy, eensy-weensy, tiddly
    titchy
    little-bitty
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1informal So small as to be negligible or insufficient.
      ‘he believed the risk of infection was minuscule’
      • ‘I don't mean to be sacrilegious here, but in a small, minuscule way trying to keep your own personal opinions out of your reporting is the goal, and it's a goal that one has to continue to be trying to achieve.’
      • ‘But Ward, and other scientists, caution that the tsunami risk is minuscule: No such tsunamis of this type have taken place in recorded history.’
      • ‘What I'm saying - that it is minuscule compared to what Ken Lay did, compared to what Jack Grubman and the other analysts on Wall Street did that had a real impact on people's lives.’
      • ‘True, the progress so far is minuscule compared with the problems created by decades of capital flight, abysmal schools, and drug abuse.’
      • ‘I know there are some issues and problems, but they are minor and minuscule compared with a number of police forces around the world.’
      • ‘I found perhaps a dozen minuscule errors in dates and such, which were passed on to Bill.’
      • ‘We have gratuitously destroyed so much of nature that the Taliban's smashing up of Buddhist statues, as comparative vandalism, will someday seem quite minuscule.’
      • ‘The paralyzing narrowness of American political life, with its minuscule differences between two big business parties, can be traced back to this period.’
      • ‘My heart rose, in the slight minuscule chance that it was a dream.’
      • ‘But if you look at the studies, it's pretty hard to make out a case for women in pregnancy experiencing all but the most minuscule possible risk to themselves or their infants.’
      • ‘Popular culture exerts massive levels of negative energy, especially on young people, which overwhelms the minuscule attempts by the aerospace and high-tech industries.’
  • 2Of or in lowercase letters, as distinct from capitals or uncials.

    • ‘The small (minuscule) letters are earth symbols- the (majuscule) capital letter A is a picture of the missing capstone from Khufu's pyramid.’
    • ‘Here for the first time it became common to mix both majuscule and minuscule letters in a single text.’
    1. 2.1Of or in a small cursive script of the Roman alphabet, with ascenders and descenders, developed in the 7th century AD.
      • ‘Speed of writing changed the appearance of many letters, however, and along with the introduction by the 4th century of loops and linking of letters this formed the basis for the development of minuscule scripts.’
      • ‘Because minuscules are generally later than uncials, and also because they were easier to produce, minuscule copies outnumber uncials of the New Testament in a ratio of ten to one.’
      • ‘Irish writings prior to the use of paper and print were written on vellum in a distinctive minuscule script which reflects 1,000 years of literary tradition.’
      • ‘Most of the works of the ancient Greek mathematicians which have survived do so because of this copying process and it is the ‘latest’ version written in minuscule script which has survived.’

noun

  • 1Minuscule script.

    • ‘The letters of the new script, called the Carolingian minuscule, were written in upper and lower case, with punctuation and words were separated.’
    • ‘Not one of them is written in the type of small, utilitarian script, called current minuscule, which was the common form of handwriting used in liturgical handbooks and schoolbooks in the seventh and eighth centuries.’
    • ‘The development of Carolingian minuscule had, although somewhat indirectly, a large impact on the history of mathematics.’
    • ‘A process of turning the old unspaced capital scripts into minuscule began and much of the mathematical writing which have survived have done so because they were copied into this new format.’
    • ‘From the late 8th century onwards a new script, Caroline minuscule, swept throughout Europe along with the Carolingian Empire.’
    • ‘As in Rome, this development ended with graffiti that used script in an unstructured and disorganized way, in which ‘aristocratic’ scripts stood side by side with uncials or minuscules of various derivations.’
    • ‘The Caroline minuscule, however, had a relatively weak impact on the writing habits of Italian notaries, who remained faithful to the cursive style.’
    1. 1.1A small or lowercase letter.
      • ‘The written and printed form of English has two interlocking systems of letters: large letters, known variously as capitals, upper-case letters, majuscules, and small letters, or lower-case letters, minuscules.’
      • ‘Working on maps and charts provided testing requirements, both for large and decorative majuscules in the titles, and for tiny minuscules for the names of towns, of which there could be as many as 500 in one county.’

Usage

The standard spelling is minuscule rather than miniscule. The latter form is a very common one (accounting for almost half of citations for the term in the Oxford English Corpus), and has been recorded since the late 19th century. It arose by analogy with other words beginning with mini-, where the meaning is similarly ‘very small.’ It is now so widely used that it can be considered as an acceptable variant, although it should be avoided in formal contexts

Origin

Early 18th century: from French, from Latin minuscula (littera) somewhat smaller (letter).

Pronunciation:

minuscule

/minˈəsˌkyo͞ol//ˈminəˌskyo͞ol/