Use the word marginal when something is minimal or barely enough. If you buy lemons and sugar, make lemonade and set up a stand on the street corner, but sell only a couple of glasses, your profits will be marginal.

Some claim that greenhouse gases have a marginal effect on the environment while others think that they are changing the world drastically. Your parents hope to see more than a marginal improvement in your grades! These are the figurative uses for marginal, which comes from the Latin word margo "edge." Literally, the word is used with things on a border. When you scribble words in the blank edges of your textbook pages, those notes are marginal.

Definitions of marginal
  1. adjective
    at or constituting a border or edge
    “the marginal strip of beach”
    synonyms: fringy
    on or near an edge or constituting an outer boundary; the outer area
  2. adjective
    just barely adequate or within a lower limit
    “a marginal victory”
    synonyms: bare
    very limited in degree
  3. adjective
    of questionable or minimal quality
    marginal writing ability”
    synonyms: borderline
    minimal, minimum
    the least possible
  4. adjective
    producing at a rate that barely covers production costs
    marginal industries”
    producing little or no profit or gain
Word Family