Meaning of “marginal” in the English Dictionary

"marginal" in British English

See all translations

marginaladjective

uk /ˈmɑː.dʒɪ.nəl/ us /ˈmɑːr.dʒɪ.nəl/

marginalnoun [ C ]

uk /ˈmɑː.dʒɪ.nəl/ us /ˈmɑːr.dʒɪ.nəl/ UK

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

"marginal" in American English

See all translations

marginaladjective

us /ˈmɑr·dʒɪ·nəl/

small in amount or effect:

The difference between the two bids was marginal.
marginally
adverb us /ˈmɑr·dʒɪ·nəl·i/

I think his guess is only marginally better than anybody else's.

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

"marginal" in Business English

See all translations

marginaladjective

uk /ˈmɑːdʒɪnəl/ us

very small in amount or effect:

a marginal improvement/increase/decrease The report suggests that there has only been a marginal improvement in women's pay over the past few years.
We have doubled our computing power at a marginal extra cost.
The fuel-price increase will have only a marginal effect on the road fuel market.

not very important:

Manufacturing is only a marginal sector in the UK these days.
Their contribution to business strategy has been marginal.

ECONOMICS producing just enough income to cover the costs of making and selling something:

Their sales volumes are marginal.
For years, these marginal operators have only just managed to keep going and banks will not look at them favorably.

POLITICS a marginal seat (= area with one political representative) is one in which a politician has won by a small number of votes, so it is fairly likely to be won by another party when there is an election:

These MPs have rural seats, many of them marginal.

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