Etymology: Medieval Latin marginalis, from Latin margin-, margo
1. written or printed in the margin of a page or sheet <marginal notes> 2. a. of, relating to, or situated at a margin or border b. not of central importance <regards violence as a marginal rather than a central problem>; also limited in extent, significance, or stature <had only marginal success with the business> c. (1) occupying the borderland of a relatively stable territorial or cultural area <marginal tribes> (2) characterized by the incorporation of habits and values from two divergent cultures and by incomplete assimilation in either <the marginal cultural habits of new immigrant groups> (3) excluded from or existing outside the mainstream of society, a group, or a school of thought <marginal voters> 3. located at the fringe of consciousness <marginal sensations> 4. a. close to the lower limit of qualification, acceptability, or function ; barely exceeding the minimum requirements <a semiliterate person of marginal ability> b. (1) having a character or capacity fitted to yield a supply of goods which when marketed at existing price levels will barely cover the cost of production <marginal land> (2) of, relating to, or derived from goods produced and marketed with such result <marginal profits> 5. relating to or being a function of a random variable that is obtained from a function of several random variables by integrating or summing over all possible values of the other variables <a marginal probability function> • marginality noun • marginally adverb
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.