Definition of margin in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈmɑːdʒɪn/


1The edge or border of something: the eastern margin of the Indian Ocean
More example sentences
  • Many are forced to leave their families and lead a precarious existence living on the margins of society.
  • In plan-form the dune has an irregular outline but the eastern margin is more complex and irregular than the western edge.
  • Because Australia has a broad continental shelf it lobbied to have this zone extend to the outer edge of the margin.
edge, side, bank, verge, border, perimeter, brink, brim, rim, fringe, boundary, limits, periphery, bound, extremity
literary marge, bourn, skirt
1.1The blank border on each side of the print on a page: the notations in the margin
More example sentences
  • This is fairly easy to accomplish by defining a bounding rectangle for the text that is the same width as the space between the page margins.
  • The holes are far greater than the space in this book given over to noticeably wide margins and blank space.
  • Folding down the corners of pages, scribbling in margins and breaking the spines of paperbacks are signs of a barbarian.
2An amount by which something is won: they won by a convincing 17-point margin
More example sentences
  • Rather, he is ensuring that the principle of one-man-one-vote holds good, even if it comes down to the narrowest of margins.
  • Amazingly the conversion was missed to leave Newbridge still ahead by the narrowest of margins at six points to five.
  • The senior hurlers have had a number of competitive performances, losing by very narrow margins.
gap, majority, amount, difference, measure/degree of difference
2.1An amount of something included so as to be sure of success or safety: there was no margin for error
More example sentences
  • In fact, one of the roots of my concern is that nobody will know for sure when the safety margin has been eroded too far.
  • Protein recommendations for athletes are commonly expressed in a range to include a safety margin.
  • Be sure your available runway length provides an adequate margin for safety.
2.2The furthest limit of possibility, success, etc. the lighting is brighter than before but is still at the margins of acceptability
More example sentences
  • Even without the threat of war, an operation of this size presses at the margins of possibility.
  • Yet the fact that he's about to shoot a new feature in colour with Bill Murray and other prominent stars also suggests he's willing to push the limits of those margins.
  • It can explore the margins and limits of the text and of classical theatre, and in the process demystify, even kill the text and the author and his authority.
2.3A profit margin: launching these new products helped increase margins and market share
More example sentences
  • At the same time, the IRA said, the firms are passing on their increased costs to consumers and increasing their own margins and profits.
  • What's more, many banks sneakily use base-rate changes to increase their margins and profits.
  • There could be some pleasant news with respect to operating profits as revenues continue to grow and margins increase.
2.4 Finance A sum deposited with a broker to cover the risk of loss on a transaction or account.
Example sentences
  • Buying options outright typically does not require any deposit of margin because the maximum risk is what you pay for the option.
  • It can fairly be said that those calls reveal that before the first margin call was made the plaintiff did not understand the risks of a margin account.
  • Finally, in unusual circumstances such as extreme market volatility, SIMEX may require a broker to deposit additional margin.
2.5Australian /NZ An increment to a basic wage, paid for extra skill or responsibility.
Example sentences
  • Skill margins were a key issue, and the dispute was the first successful post war campaign.
  • Stronger unions responded by demanding higher margins for skill and above-award payments, which strained the court's authority.

verb (margins, margining, margined)

[with object]
1Provide with an edge or border: the plant’s leaves are margined with yellow
More example sentences
  • The long lasting floral bunches with sparkling waxy bracts in different shades of pink, and the yellow margined red corolla are best suited for cut flowers.
  • Ilex aquifolium ‘Ferox Argentea’: called the hedgehog holly, this is a non-berrying male holly with exceptionally spiky dark green leaves, margined with cream.
  • We watched a yellow margined triggerfish as it scoured the seabed below.
2Deposit an amount of money with a broker as security for (an account or transaction): (as adjective margined) a margined transaction
More example sentences
  • For instance, if you had $100,000 in your account margined 20 times, your actual investment would be $2m.
  • As I mentioned above, the margining system used by the futures options exchanges provides a special advantage of allowing Treasury bills to be margined.
  • This created a highly margined, over-concentrated portfolio that was not suitable considering Mr. Worker's financial situation or goals.
3 archaic Annotate or summarize (a text) in the margins: these he deals forth as the notable Matters, margined for better Notice


margin of error

A small amount that is allowed for in case of miscalculation or change of circumstances: it is well within the margin of error for this sort of calculation
More example sentences
  • That's a large target area, and it allows for a margin of error when a shot must be taken from odd angles.
  • A margin of error is allowed in the exercise of discretion.
  • That, basically, is a statistical tie for first, because that's within the margin of error.



[in combination]: a wide-margined volume


Late Middle English: from Latin margo, margin- 'edge'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: mar¦gin

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.