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marginal
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marginal


It’s never this loud when the Commandant is in attendance, and I relax marginally, glad to avoid her.
Sabaa Tahir  --  An Ember in the Ashes
  small in quantity (as in "marginal improvement")

or:

barely adequate (as in "marginal ability")

or:

barely qualifying or relevant (as in "of marginal interest")

or:

at the edge or border (as in "the marginal tax rate")
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marginally marginal marginality
Strongly Associated with:   marginalize
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Samples:
  • It’s never this loud when the Commandant is in attendance, and I relax marginally, glad to avoid her.
    Sabaa Tahir  --  An Ember in the Ashes
  • It was marginally less awkward when the game started again, if only because there was so much to mock.
    Laurie Halse Anderson  --  The Impossible Knife of Memory
  • Amy returned from a dance one February night to find him lying on her bed, naked, on top of the covers, groggy from a very marginal pill overdose.
    Gillian Flynn  --  Gone Girl
  • Realizing I’d dodged something huge, I relaxed marginally.
    Kiera Cass  --  The One

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  • I raised my head marginally.
    Kiera Cass  --  The Heir
  • "Marginally," he allowed.
    John Green  --  An Abundance of Katherines
  • Doing the cafe circuit was marginally better than the house parties.
    Gayle Forman  --  Where She Went
  • I was probably the only marginally rich kid in America who hadn’t.
    Ransom Riggs  --  Hollow City
  • His lecturer’s facade gave way to a grin as he tried with marginal success to wipe the pitch off of his hands with a rag.
    Patrick Rothfuss  --  The Name of the Wind
  • I had been having trouble sleeping, and had found that actually getting up was marginally preferable to lying in my bed batting away the swirling mess of my thoughts.
    Jojo Moyes  --  Me Before You

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  • Just doing that made Pattie feel marginally better.
    Holly Goldberg Sloan  --  Counting by 7s
  • He’d never been so crass as to directly ask her late husband how he managed to accumulate such large amounts of cash, but it didn’t take a Rhodes scholar to deduce that Barlowe must have been doing something at least marginally illegal.
    Scott Pratt  --  An Innocent Client
  • He salvages the inferior Soviet equipment, milled from marginal steel, clumsily soldered; it’s all so unsystematic.
    Anthony Doerr  --  All the Light We Cannot See
  • Alex turns onto Marginal Way, and my teeth clatter together as we bump over the old pitted pavement, my stomach yo-yoing every time we jolt over another pothole.
    Lauren Oliver  --  Delirium
  • Many of the conscripts, substitutes, and bounty men who made up an increasing proportion of both armies from 1863 on were motivated marginally if at all by ideology or patriotism.
    James M. McPherson  --  What They Fought For - 1861-1865
  • I knew something about Bilbo—something more, that is, than was known by the ordinary American citizen with even a marginal concern with politics and doubtless more than the editors of the New York Post.
    William Styron  --  Sophie’s Choice
  • "In and of itself, there’s no immediate cause for alarm," he declared in a marginally uplifting tone.
    James Patterson  --  1st to Die
  • This was marginally more successful.
    Cassandra Clare  --  City of Lost Souls
  • The last third would be marginal cases, those with behavioral problems and unstable families.
    Warren St. John  --  Outcasts United
  • Dozens of marginal characters have marched off into the Alaska wilds over the years, never to reappear.
    Jon Krakauer  --  Into the Wild
  • You’d only need to be facing the wrong way at the wrong time or stand marginally too close to another person.
    Markus Zusak  --  The Book Thief
  • He hated running, but the applause was intoxicating, and the prospect of more was just enough incentive to keep him marginally compliant.
    Laura Hillenbrand  --  Unbroken
  • Because these guys were not really marksmen, were using marginal rifles pretty recklessly, but nonetheless followed the military rules for this type of assault.
    Marcus Luttrell  --  Lone Survivor
  • There he found everything arranged in due order,—the accusation, examination, Morrel’s petition, M. de Villefort’s marginal notes.
    Alexandre Dumas  --  The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Cultures of honor tend to take root in highlands and other marginally fertile areas, such as Sicily or the mountainous Basque regions of Spain.
    Malcolm Gladwell  --  Outliers
  • It broadcast an exaggerated version of our complicated interior lives to the world, made us feel less alone in the madness of the era, less marginal.
    Wes Moore  --  The Other Wes Moore
  • Either guilt or embarrassment forced me to my feet, and she mumbled her thanks and pushed in beside Jane and Guy Linda, who woke just long enough to marginally scoot over for her.
    Homer Hickam  --  October Sky
  • It sounded fainter now, and he was marginally aware that wasn’t because Annie was moving away but because he was.
    Stephen King  --  Misery
  • Bruce Trevor had been a marginal student but a fantastic basketball player.
    Stephen King  --  Carrie
  • Like most of its rivals, Mountain Madness was a fiscally marginal enterprise and had been since its inception: in 1995 Fischer took home only about $12,000.
    Jon Krakauer  --  Into Thin Air
  • As overall smoking rates decline, in other words, the habit is becoming concentrated among the most troubled and marginal members of society.
    Malcolm Gladwell  --  The Tipping Point
  • Lockhart’s Life of Napoleon (cover wanting, marginal annotations, minimising victories, aggrandising defeats of the protagonist).
    James Joyce  --  Ulysses
  • And then it was a fine report in Latin, which the sub-monitor of Torchi carried piteously to Dom Claude with this dolorous marginal comment,—~Rixa; prima causa vinum optimum potatum~.
    Victor Hugo  --  The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • He kept up a relentless flow of encouragement all the way back to the castle, and by the time they reached the second floor, Ron was looking marginally more cheerful.
    J.K. Rowling  --  Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • If he succeeded, he was an alienated marginal man—alienated from the strength of his culture and from fellow black men, and never able, of course, to become that imitation white man because he bore the pigment that made the white man view him as intrinsically other.
    John Howard Griffin  --  Black Like Me
  • When Samuel and Liza came to the Salinas Valley all the level land was taken, the rich bottoms, the little fertile creases in the hills, the forests, but there was still marginal land to be homesteaded, and in the barren hills, to the east of what is now King City, Samuel Hamilton homesteaded.
    John Steinbeck  --  East of Eden
  • Like all strong people, she suffered always a measure of loneliness; she was a marginal outsider, a secret infidel of a certain sort.
    Anne Rice  --  Interview with the Vampire
  • The only serene corner had been established by peaceful West Indian Negroes, who built a marginal street with wooden houses on piles where they would sit in the doors at dusk singing melancholy hymns in their disordered gabble.
    Gabriel Garcia Marquez  --  One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • A friend of Claude’s went to the medical school in Bujumbura — the school was functioning again, marginally, Deo was told.
    Tracy Kidder  --  Strength in What Remains
  • Accordingly, he wrote, they should resign themselves "to a somewhat marginal status."
    Tracy Kidder  --  Mountains Beyond Mountains
  • He was a few dollarsshort of flat broke and only marginally employed at the depths of the Depression.
    Laura Hillenbrand  --  Seabiscuit
  • Every morning, for a month, on entering her office, she had been conscious, not of the room around her, but of the tunnels below, under the floors of the building-and she had worked, feeling as if some marginal part of her brain was computing figures, reading reports, making decisions in a rush of lifeless activity, while her living mind was inactive and still, frozen in contemplation, forbidden to move beyond the sentence: He’s down there.
    Ayn Rand  --  Atlas Shrugged
  • The systems projected a heads-up display (HUD) on the fighter’s windshield, in effect turning night to day and making this mission profile marginally less hazardous.
    Tom Clancy  --  The Hunt for Red October
  • Gogol is bored by the panelists, who keep referring to something called "marginality," as if it were some sort of medical condition.
    Jhumpa Lahiri  --  The Namesake
  • He did not know much more about it than he had learned in a routine manner in some marginal course, when he had found it difficult to believe that only thirty years before, it had been responsible for more than one hundred forty thousand deaths in France, including Paris.
    Gabriel Garcia Marquez  --  Love in the Time of Cholera
  • "Yeah," I said, my voice only marginally steady.
    Dan Simmons  --  Hyperion
  • Why would you give your time to a business as marginal as Millennium?
    Stieg Larsson  --  The Girl Who Played with Fire
  • The hampered and lonely itinerant conscientiously covered up the marginal readings, and used them merely on points of construction, as he would have used a comrade or tutor who should have happened to be passing by.
    Thomas Hardy  --  Jude the Obscure
  • I want to know whom we should kill — even those marginally arrived at — to cut our losses and get the Webbs out.
    Robert Ludlum  --  The Bourne Supremacy
  • Roger, an officer I knew only marginally, was diverting traffic.
    Jodi Picoult  --  Change of Heart
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Associated words [difficulty]:   marginal [3] , marginalize [6]
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Most commonly used in these subjects:   Business, Nature & Ecology, Public Policy & Politics
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