Meaning of MARGIN in English

mar ‧ gin W3 AC /ˈmɑːdʒən, ˈmɑːdʒɪn $ ˈmɑːr-/ BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ margin , ↑ marginalization ; adjective : ↑ marginal , ↑ marginalized ; verb : ↑ marginalize ; adverb : ↑ marginally ]

[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: Latin ; Origin: margo 'border' ]

1 . the empty space at the side of a page:

Someone had scribbled a note in the margin.

Use double spacing and wide margins to leave room for comments.

2 . the difference in the number of votes, points etc that exists between the winners and the losers of a competition or election

by a wide/narrow/significant etc margin

They’re a world-class team and it was no surprise that they won by such a wide margin.

by a margin of 10 points/100 votes etc

The bill was approved by a margin of 55 votes.

3 . the difference between what it costs a business to buy or produce something and what they sell it for:

Margins are low and many companies are struggling.

Within 10 years they had a gross profit margin of 50%.

4 . [usually singular] an additional amount of something such as time, money, or space that you include in order to make sure that you are successful in achieving something:

It’ll take about 30 minutes to dry but I’d allow a safety margin of, say, another 10 minutes.

5 . margin of error the degree to which a calculation might or can be wrong:

The survey has a margin of error of 2.1%.

6 . margin for error how many mistakes you can make and still be able to achieve something:

At this late stage in the competition there is no margin for error.

7 . technical or literary the edge of something, especially an area of land or water:

the western margin of southern Africa

8 . on the margin(s) a person on the margins of a situation or group has very little power, importance, or influence SYN on the fringes :

unemployed youths living on the margins of society

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COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)

■ adjectives

▪ wide

The margin should be wider.

▪ narrow (=not wide)

The margins are very narrow, making the page look cluttered.

▪ a generous margin (=wide)

Leave a generous margin at the side of the page.

▪ the right-hand margin (=on the right of the page)

There were some notes written in the right-hand margin.

▪ the left-hand margin (=on the left of the page)

All typing begins at the left-hand margin.

■ verbs

▪ leave a margin

The teacher told us to leave a margin wide enough for him to write corrections.

▪ set the margins (=make them a particular size)

Set the margins to have one inch on each side.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ adjectives

▪ a large/big margin

By a large margin, the book sold more copies than any other this year.

▪ a huge margin (=a very big one)

They won the championship by a huge margin.

▪ a small margin

Visitors from other parts of Scotland exceeded foreign visitors by only a small margin.

▪ a narrow margin (=a very small one)

The proposal passed, but only by a narrow margin.

■ verbs

▪ win by a large/small etc margin

The party won by a huge margin.

▪ lose by a large/small etc margin

He lost by only a narrow margin.

• • •


▪ edge the part of something that is furthest from its centre or nearest the place where it ends:

He got up quickly, knocking his plate off the edge of the table.


the outer edge of the village

▪ side the part of something that is near its left or right edge:

On the left side of the garden there was an old stone wall.


They parked by the side of the road.

▪ rim the edge of something circular, especially the top of a cup or glass, or the outside edge of a pair of glasses:

a white cup with a gold rim


She was looking at me over the rim of her spectacles.

▪ margin the empty space at the side of a page that has writing on it:

My teacher had marked my essay and made some comments in the margin.


Leave wide margins on both sides of the page.

▪ hem the edge of a piece of cloth that is turned under and stitched down, especially the lower edge of a skirt, trousers etc:

If you want the dress a bit shorter, I can easily turn up the hem.

▪ kerb British English , curb American English the edge of the pavement (=raised path) at the side of a road:

A big black car was parked at the kerb.

▪ outskirts the areas of a city that are furthest away from the centre:

The new station was built on the outskirts of the city.

▪ perimeter the outside edge around an enclosed area of land such as a military camp or a prison:

Security guards patrol the perimeter night and day.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.