AskDefine | Define minimum

Dictionary Definition

minimum adj : the least possible; "needed to enforce minimal standards"; "her grades were minimal"; "minimum wage"; "a minimal charge for the service" [syn: minimal] [ant: maximal, maximal]


1 the smallest possible quantity [syn: lower limit] [ant: maximum]
2 the point on a curve where the tangent changes from negative on the left to positive on the right [ant: maximum] [also: minima (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary



From minimus


  1. The lowest limit.
  2. The smallest amount.
    He always tries to get away with doing the minimum.
  3. A period of minimum brightness or energy intensity (of a star).
    The Maunder minimum of the Sun reportedly corresponded to a period of great cold on Earth.



lowest limit



  1. minimum

Extensive Definition

The largest and the smallest element of a set are called extreme values, absolute extrema, or extreme records.
For a differentiable function f, if f(x_0) is an extreme value for the set of all values f(x), and if x_0 is in the interior of the domain of f, then x_0 is a critical point, by Fermat's theorem.

Extreme values in abstract spaces with order

In the case of a general partial order one should not confuse a least element (smaller than all other) and a minimal element (nothing is smaller). Likewise, a greatest element of a poset is an upper bound of the set which is contained within the set, whereas a maximal element m of a poset A is an element of A such that if m ≤ b (for any b in A) then m = b.
Any least element or greatest element of a poset will be unique, but a poset can have several minimal or maximal elements. If a poset has more than one maximal element, then these elements will not be mutually comparable.
In a totally ordered set, or chain, all elements are mutually comparable, so such a set can have at most one minimal element and at most one maximal element. Then, due to mutual comparability, the minimal element will also be the least element and the maximal element will also be the greatest element. Thus in a totally ordered set we can simply use the terms minimum and maximum.
If a chain is finite then it will always have a maximum and a minimum. If a chain is infinite then it need not have a maximum or a minimum. For example, the set of natural numbers has no maximum, though it has a minimum.
If an infinite chain S is bounded, then the closure Cl(S) of the set occasionally has a minimum and a maximum, in such case they are called the greatest lower bound and the least upper bound of the set S, respectively.
In general, if an ordered set S has a greatest element m, m is a maximal element. Furthermore, if S is a subset of an ordered set T and m is the greatest element of S with respect to order induced by T, m is a least upper bound of S in T. The similar result holds for least element, minimal element and greatest lower bound.
minimum in Arabic: حدود عليا وحدود دنيا
minimum in German: Extremwert
minimum in French: Extremum
minimum in Icelandic: Útgildi
minimum in Dutch: Extreme waarden
minimum in Polish: Ekstremum
minimum in Portuguese: Mínimo
minimum in Finnish: Maksimi

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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