Definition of marginal in English:

marginal

Syllabification: mar·gin·al
Pronunciation: /ˈmärjənl
 
/

adjective

1Of, relating to, or situated at the edge or margin of something: marginal notes
More example sentences
  • The White Sea is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean connected with the Barents Sea by a shallow strait.
1.1Of secondary or minor importance; not central: it seems likely to make only a marginal difference a marginal criminal element
More example sentences
  • Types of work which are now marginal were still important.
  • This could have been the basis of an interesting discussion of how marginal or central such songs were to Finland.
  • In the same way women are central - not marginal - to the process of reproduction.
Synonyms
slight, small, tiny, minute, insignificant, minimal, negligible
1.2(Of a decision or distinction) very narrow: a marginal offside decision
More example sentences
  • Any righteous indignation on the part of the Americans at that stage was undermined by replays which suggested the offside decision was marginal.
  • It was tough on Pres Milltown who gave it everything but they just gave St Pats too big a lead and had little luck with marginal decisions.
  • However, to the dismay of the home-support a marginal offside decision went United's way.
Synonyms
borderline, disputable, questionable, doubtful
1.3Of or relating to water adjacent to the land’s edge or coast: water lilies and marginal aquatics
More example sentences
  • All dead and yellowing growth should be cleared from marginal plants and water lilies, and submerged aquatics that are getting out of hand should be thinned out.
  • Beware of the razor-edged oyster-shells or the stinging fish (theli meen) in the muddy marginal waters.
  • Keep the hammer down and do not squander the early start behind shrimp boats in marginal water.
1.4(Chiefly of costs or benefits) relating to or resulting from small or unit changes.
More example sentences
  • In each country, the long-run perfectly competitive equilibrium price equals marginal production cost plus the per unit tax.
  • Thus short-run marginal costing rather than LRMC is the appropriate pricing strategy.
  • Hyundai Motor India has announced a marginal price increase for all its cars across segments to reflect the incidence of Education Cess.
1.5(Of taxation) relating to increases in income.
More example sentences
  • First of all, as the marginal income tax rate increases, the incentive to work decreases as less and less of one's earnings are actually kept for their own use.
  • But the Minister in the chair should tell us what will happen to that family's effective marginal taxation rate as its income goes a bit higher.
  • Since the tax refund is based on the taxpayer's marginal tax rate, it's prudent in some cases to defer deducting the RRSP contribution.
1.6chiefly British (Of a parliamentary seat) having a small majority and therefore at risk in an election.
More example sentences
  • Nationally that figures has soared by 500 per cent in marginal seats in the election.
  • Catching these ‘missing voters’ could make a significant difference to the results of elections in marginal seats.
  • Leeds North West, which encompasses Otley, has been targeted by the Liberal Democrats and Tories as a key marginal seat in their election campaigns.
1.7Close to the limit of profitability, especially through difficulty of exploitation: marginal farmland
More example sentences
  • Farmers originally received grants to plant forests on marginal farmland.
  • He notes that the northern grazing industry has usually been economically marginal, rarely very profitable.
  • Underneath that wide smile, he scares marginal McDonald's store operators with his frankness.

noun

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A plant that grows in water adjacent to the edge of land.
More example sentences
  • However, an important difference is in the shape of the crescentic facets on the proximal edge of the marginals.
  • They correspond to facets for the articulation of two rows of spines along lateral edges of marginals.
  • Whoever made the original choice of plants did a splendid job, leaving us a mix of marginals, surface-leaved and submerged oxygenating plants, all of which I would highly recommend to fellow novice pond keepers.

Origin

late 16th century: from medieval Latin marginalis, from margo, margin- (see margin).

Derivatives

marginality

Pronunciation: /ˌmärjəˈnalətē/
noun
More example sentences
  • They found a way to combine the economic interests of publishers, bookstores, and poets to overcome the financial marginality of serious literature.
  • But he says it is futile to try and start a leftist party out of ‘small groups condemned to marginality.’
  • We associate marginality with self-consciousness, with the possibility of critical distance; the outsider becomes a sociologist.

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