1. Of, relating to, located at, or constituting a margin, a border, or an edge: the marginal strip of beach; a marginal issue that had no bearing on the election results.
2. Being adjacent geographically: states marginal to Canada.
3. Written or printed in the margin of a book: marginal notes.
4. Barely within a lower standard or limit of quality: marginal writing ability; eked out a marginal existence.
a. Having to do with enterprises that produce goods or are capable of producing goods at a rate that barely covers production costs.
b. Relating to commodities thus manufactured and sold.
6. Psychology Relating to or located at the fringe of consciousness.
One that is considered to be at a lower or outer limit, as of social acceptability: "is fascinated by marginals, by people who live on the edge of society" (Dan Yakir).
mar′gin·ali·ty (-jə-nălĭ-tē) n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.