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major Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun a commissioned military officer in the United States Army or Air Force or Marines; below lieutenant colonel and above captain
  2. noun British statesman who was prime minister from 1990 until 1997 (born in 1943)
    John Roy Major; John Major; John R. Major.
  3. noun a university student who is studying a particular field as the principal subject
    • she is a linguistics major
  4. noun the principal field of study of a student at a university
    • her major is linguistics
  5. verb have as one's principal field of study
    • She is majoring in linguistics
  6. adjective of greater importance or stature or rank
    • a major artist
    • a major role
    • major highways
  7. adjective greater in scope or effect
    • a major contribution
    • a major improvement
    • a major break with tradition
    • a major misunderstanding
  8. adjective greater in number or size or amount
    • a major portion (a majority) of the population
    • Ursa Major
    • a major portion of the winnings
  9. adjective of the field of academic study in which one concentrates or specializes
    • his major field was mathematics
  10. adjective of a scale or mode
    • major scales
    • the key of D major
  11. adjective of greater seriousness or danger
    • a major earthquake
    • a major hurricane
    • a major illness
  12. adjective of full legal age
  13. adjective satellite of the elder of two boys with the same family name
    • Jones major

L. major, compar. of magnus great: cf. F. majeur. Cf. Master, Mayor, Magnitude, More, a.
  1. Greater in number, quantity, or extent; as, the major part of the assembly; the major part of the revenue; the major part of the territory.
  2. Of greater dignity; more important. Shak.
  3. Of full legal age. Obs.
  4. (Mus.) Greater by a semitone, either in interval or in difference of pitch from another tone.
Ma"jor noun
F. major. See Major, a.
  1. (Mil.) An officer next in rank above a captain and next below a lieutenant colonel; the lowest field officer.
  2. (Law) A person of full age.
  3. (Logic) That premise which contains the major term. It its the first proposition of a regular syllogism; as: No unholy person is qualified for happiness in heaven [the major]. Every man in his natural state is unholy [minor]. Therefore, no man in his natural state is qualified for happiness in heaven [conclusion or inference]. ✍ In hypothetical syllogisms, the hypothetical premise is called the major.
  4. LL. See Major. A mayor. Obs. Bacon.

Webster 1913