The minimum is the lowest or smallest amount possible or acceptable. If you do the minimum amount of work at your job, you might not get fired — but you definitely won't get promoted.

Minimum is Latin for smallest, so clearly English speakers have done less than the minimum amount of messing with the meaning of this word. Obviously, the opposite is maximum. At minimum, you should know that the word means the smallest limit of something. At most, you should be able to talk about its Latin roots.

Definitions of minimum

n the smallest possible quantity

lower limit
maximum, upper limit
the largest possible quantity
something reduced to its minimal form
Type of:
extremum, peak
the most extreme possible amount or value
small indefinite amount, small indefinite quantity
an indefinite quantity that is below average size or magnitude

n the point on a curve where the tangent changes from negative on the left to positive on the right

the point on a curve where the tangent changes from positive on the left to negative on the right
Type of:
as far as something can go

adj the least possible

minimum wage”
borderline, marginal
of questionable or minimal quality
so small as to be meaningless; insignificant
nominal, token, tokenish
insignificantly small; a matter of form only (`tokenish' is informal)
stripped, stripped-down
having only essential or minimal features
maximal, maximum
the greatest or most complete or best possible
greatest or maximal in degree; extreme
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