Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin margin-, margo border — more at mark
Date: 14th century
1. the part of a page or sheet outside the main body of printed or written matter
2. the outside limit and adjoining surface of something ; edge <at the margin of the woods> <continental margin> 3. a. a spare amount or measure or degree allowed or given for contingencies or special situations <left no margin for error> b. (1) a bare minimum below which or an extreme limit beyond which something becomes impossible or is no longer desirable <on the margin of good taste> (2) the limit below which economic activity cannot be continued under normal conditions c. an area, state, or condition excluded from or existing outside the mainstream <the margins of critical discourse — Barbara L. Packer> <living in society's margins> 4. a. the difference which exists between net sales and the cost of merchandise sold and from which expenses are usually met or profit derived b. the excess market value of collateral over the face of a loan c. (1) cash or collateral that is deposited by a client with a commodity or securities broker to protect the broker from loss on a contract (2) the client's equity in securities bought with the aid of credit obtained specifically (as from a broker) for that purpose d. a range about a specified figure within which a purchase is to be made 5. measure or degree of difference <the bill passed by a one-vote margin> • margined adjective II. transitive verb Date: 1715 1. a. to provide with an edging or border b. to form a margin to ; border 2. a. to add margin to <margin up an account> b. (1) to use as margin <margin bonds to buy stock> (2) to provide margin for <margin a transaction> c. to buy (securities) on margin
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.