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Minimum vs minimal

Minimum means the least amount possible, the smallest possible amount required, recorded or attainable. Minimum may be used as a noun or an adjective, the word comes from the Latin word minimum which means smallest thing. The plural form of minimum may either be minimums or minima, minimums is the most prevalent.

Minimal also means the least amount possible, the smallest possible amount required, recorded or attainable. However, minimal may also mean a small or negligible amount, not necessarily the very least amount possible. This means that the word minimal may often be substituted for the word minimum, but the reverse is not always true. Minimal is an adjective that is also derived from the Latin word minimum.


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Examples

The drug-addict mother of little Ayeeshia Jane Smith has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 24 years for beating the 21-month-old to death. (The Daily Mail)

High school and college students looking for summer work will be hurt by New York’s higher minimum wage, the owner of a major seasonal business says. (The New York Post)

The Opposition Leader yesterday said he was prepared to reach a “sensible compromise” with the government about the “pace in which new overdue minimum conditions are rolled out” but slammed any push to abolish the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal. (The Australian)

Snowflakes could fall in the D.C. region tonight and into tomorrow morning, but accumulation should be minimal. (The Washington Post)

Presented by the Telegraph’s Enterprise Editor Rebecca Burn-Callander, the series is a beginners guide to getting a business going with minimal budget. (The Telegraph)

“There’s a risk to Well 5 still on the potential migration of PFOS, but we feel that that’s minimal given the earlier hydrogeologic information,” Lynne said. (The Issaquah Press)

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