adjective mar·gin·al \ˈmärj-nəl, ˈmär-jə-nəl\

: not very important

: very slight or small

: not included in the main part of society or of a group

Full Definition of MARGINAL

:  written or printed in the margin of a page or sheet <marginal notes>
a :  of, relating to, or situated at a margin or border
b :  not of central importance <regards violence as a marginal rather than a central problem>; also :  limited in extent, significance, or stature <had only marginal success with the business>
c (1) :  occupying the borderland of a relatively stable territorial or cultural area <marginal tribes>
(2) :  characterized by the incorporation of habits and values from two divergent cultures and by incomplete assimilation in either <the marginal cultural habits of new immigrant groups> (3) :  excluded from or existing outside the mainstream of society, a group, or a school of thought <marginal voters>
:  located at the fringe of consciousness <marginal sensations>
a :  close to the lower limit of qualification, acceptability, or function :  barely exceeding the minimum requirements <a semiliterate person of marginal ability>
b (1) :  having a character or capacity fitted to yield a supply of goods which when marketed at existing price levels will barely cover the cost of production <marginal land>
(2) :  of, relating to, or derived from goods produced and marketed with such result <marginal profits>
:  relating to or being a function of a random variable that is obtained from a function of several random variables by integrating or summing over all possible values of the other variables <a marginal probability function>
mar·gin·al·i·ty \ˌmär-jə-ˈna-lə-tē\ noun
mar·gin·al·ly \ˈmärj-nə-lē, ˈmär-jə-nəl-ē\ adverb

Origin of MARGINAL

Medieval Latin marginalis, from Latin margin-, margo
First Known Use: 1573

Other Printing Terms

epigraph, errata, leader, mechanical, notch, tittle, underscore, widow
Medical Dictionary


adjective mar·gin·al \ˈmärj-nəl, -ən-əl\

Medical Definition of MARGINAL

:  of, relating to, or situated at a margin or border
:  located at the fringe of consciousness <marginal sensations>


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