• (Music, British) A note having the time value of two quarter notes or half of a whole note, represented by a ring with a stem. Also called half note.
  • One-sixtieth of a fluid dram, about one drop of liquid.
  • (In calligraphy) A short vertical stroke, as in the letters “i,” “m,” “n,” “u.”

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Example Sentences

“Hold this note for an extra minim and it will flow into the next verse nicely.”

“It’s too sweet — add a few minims of bitters to this cocktail.”

“I’m learning calligraphy, and I’ve just perfected the minim stroke.”

Word Origin

Latin, mid-15th century

Why this word?

“Minimal” is an adjective that means “the smallest amount,” but the noun “minim” (from the same Latin origin “minimus,” or “smallest”) has multiple (tiny) definitions. For a calligrapher, a minim is the upstroke they use to form certain lowercase letters, including “i” and “m.” For a chemist, a minim is exactly one-sixtieth of a fluid dram, but you can estimate it as one drop. And for British musicians (who use a different musical notation system than American), a minim is another name for a half note.

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