Meaning of “margin” in the English Dictionary

"margin" in British English

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marginnoun

uk /ˈmɑː.dʒɪn/ us /ˈmɑːr.dʒɪn/

margin noun (DIFFERENCE)

C2 [ C ] the amount by which one thing is different from another:

The Senate approved the use of military force by a margin of 52 votes to 47.
The poll shows that the government is leading by the narrowest of margins.

More examples

  • The election was won by the very narrow margin of only 185 votes.
  • She won the presidency by a wide margin.
  • The president won the election by a razor-thin margin.
  • The Democrats are ahead by a very narrow margin.
  • The vote was passed by a margin of 13 to 9.

margin noun (OUTER PART)

C2 [ C ] the empty space to the side of the text on a page, sometimes separated from the rest of the page by a vertical line:

If I have any comments to make, I'll write them in the margin.

[ C ] the outer edge of an area:

The plant tends to grow in the lighter margins of woodland areas.
on the margins of sth

If someone is on the margins of a group of people, they are part of that group, but different in important ways, and if someone is on the margins of an activity, they are only slightly involved:

He spent the 1980s on the margins of British politics.
We need to reach out to those on the margins of society.

More examples

  • Each new paragraph should be indented about two centimetres from the margin.
  • She made some jottings in the margin of the book she was reading.
  • She ornamented her letters with little drawings in the margin.
  • Write your comments in the margin of the report in pencil.

margin noun (POSSIBILITY)

[ C or U ] something that makes a particular thing possible, such as an extra amount of money, time, etc. allowed that makes it possible to deal with an emergency:

There is not much margin for creativity in a job like this.
They allow an additional safety margin of five minutes between planes taking off.

(Definition of “margin” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"margin" in American English

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marginnoun [ C ]

us /ˈmɑr·dʒɪn/

margin noun [ C ] (BORDER)

the border of empty space around the written or printed text on a page:

She was in the habit of making notes in the margins of her textbooks.

margin noun [ C ] (AMOUNT/DEGREE)

the amount or degree of difference between a higher amount and a lower amount:

He was reelected by a wide margin.

A margin for error is the amount by which you can make a mistake without risking complete failure:

There is no margin for error – it’s got to work the first time.

A margin of error is the degree to which a calculation can be wrong without changing how accurate the final result is:

The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4%.

(Definition of “margin” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"margin" in Business English

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marginnoun [ C ]

uk /ˈmɑːdʒɪn/ us

the amount by which one thing is more or less than another:

by a margin of sth The president won the election by a tiny margin.
a wide/large/comfortable margin They are the largest building society by a comfortable margin.
a narrow/small/slim margin
a 40-vote/5-point/2-to-1, etc. margin On the New York Stock Exchange, declines outpaced gainers by a 4-3 margin.
Kennedy's margin of victory was only 719,000.

ACCOUNTING, COMMERCE the difference between the total cost of making and selling something and the price it is sold for:

a low/poor margin Intense competition leads to lower prices and margins.
a high/good margin They wanted to produce higher margin products.
a margin on sth The company will make a whopping 80% margin on this sale.
Our increased profits are due to improved margins.

BANKING the difference between the amount of a loan and the value of the collateral (= property to be given to the lender if the money is not paid back):

The risk of default needs to be correctly priced in the bank's loan margins.

FINANCE, STOCK MARKET money, shares, etc. that a client gives to a broker to hold, that protect the broker from loss on a contract

on margin

FINANCE If you buy shares on margin, you borrow money in order to do this:

Executives bought stocks on margin, putting up cash for only 10 per cent of the purchase price.

(Definition of “margin” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)