V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary



Definition: 1. barely adequate; 2. small in scale or importance; 3. at the lowest acceptable limit; 4. not significant or relevant; 5. of, or relating to, a margin or border

Synonyms: borderline, passable, minimal, mediocre, perfunctory, peripheral, insignificant, irrelevant

Antonyms: great, large, central, significant

Tips: Marginal comes from the word margin, which means "border." The idea is if you reach the border (the end to something) and if you go over it a little, the little bit you go over is considered marginal--it's still close to the border. For example, if you went $5 over budget (a form of border) on a $1,000 project, that $5 would be marginal. In general, marginal refers to things that don't bear great significance or central importance. Marginal can also refer to something that is mediocre and just barely passable. The related verb marginalize means "to treat someone or something as if it's not important or significant."

Usage Examples:

The additional cost is marginal and won't have a significant affect on the budget. (minimal, insignificant)

Your essay was marginal, at best, and I would have expected better work from you. (mediocre, passable)

There has been only a marginal improvement in our sales since we launched our new advertising campaign. (minimal, insignificant)

She's upset because her father always marginalizes her efforts, no matter how hard she tries to be successful. (minimizes, treats as insignificant) verb

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