Meaning of MAJOR in English

I. ˈmājə(r) adjective

Etymology: Middle English majour, from Latin major larger, greater, compar. of magnus large, great — more at much

1. : greater in dignity, rank, importance, or interest : superior

regarded him as one of the major poets of his generation — Douglas Cleverdon

the minor and major arts are flourishing — Saturday Review

2. : greater in number, quantity, or extent : larger

output of salt showed marked increases by all of the major … producing countries — Americana Annual

the major part of this work was undertaken by him — H.W.H.Knott

3. : of full legal age

major children

4. : notable or conspicuous in effect or scope : considerable , principal — compare negligible

on a major military offensive — Collier's Year Book

so that no single country produced any of the major weapons exclusively in its own territory — Denis Healey

5. : involving grave risk : serious

a major illness

a major operative procedure


a. : of or relating to a subject of academic study chosen as a field of specialization

b. : of or relating to a secondary-school course requiring a maximum of classroom hours


a. of a scale : having half steps between the third and fourth and the seventh and eighth degrees

b. of a key : based (as in its harmonic relations) on such a scale — opposed to minor ; used after the name of a keynote

sonata in C major

the F- major symphony

c. of an interval

(1) : greater by a half step than minor : of a size equal to the distance between the keynote and a (specified) degree of the major scale — used of the second, third, sixth, and seventh; compare perfect

(2) : greater by a comma — used of one whole step in an untempered scale compared with another

C-D is a major step, greater than the minor step D-E

— compare temperament

d. of a mode in mensurable music : having the large divided into longs

II. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Medieval Latin, from Latin, adjective

1. archaic : major premise

2. : a person of full legal age


a. : one that is superior in rank, importance, station, or performance

minor poets are legion; the majors are few and far between

b. : one of the larger or more important members or units of a kind or group

night baseball in the majors is here to stay — John Drebinger

much effort is made to “standardize” movies … the majors possess a near monopoly — R.A.Brady

c. : major suit

there is a laydown grand slam in either major — Florence Osborn


[probably from French, from Medieval Latin, magnate, chief]

: an army, marine, or airforce officer ranking just below a lieutenant colonel and above a captain

5. : a Salvation Army officer ranking above a senior captain and below a senior major


a. : a subject of academic study chosen as a field of specialization

took English literature as his major

b. : a student specializing in such a field

he is a history major

III. intransitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

: to pursue an academic major

majoring in history at the university — John Dos Passos

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.