from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Greater than others in importance or rank: a major artist.
  • adj. Great in scope or effect: a major improvement.
  • adj. Great in number, size, or extent: the major portion of the population.
  • adj. Requiring great attention or concern; very serious: a major illness.
  • adj. Law Having attained full legal age.
  • adj. Of or relating to the field of academic study in which a student specializes.
  • adj. Music Designating a scale or mode having half steps between the third and fourth and the seventh and eighth degrees.
  • adj. Music Equivalent to the distance between the tonic note and the second or third or sixth or seventh degrees of a major scale or mode: a major interval.
  • adj. Music Based on a major scale: a major key.
  • n. A commissioned rank in the U.S. Army, Air Force, or Marine Corps that is above captain and below lieutenant colonel.
  • n. One who holds this rank.
  • n. One that is superior in rank, importance, or ability: an oil-producing country considered as one of the majors.
  • n. Law One who has reached full legal age.
  • n. A field of study chosen as an academic specialty.
  • n. A student specializing in such studies: a linguistics major.
  • n. Logic A major premise.
  • n. Logic A major term.
  • n. Music A major scale, key, interval, or mode.
  • n. Music A chord containing a major third between the first and second notes and a minor third between the second and third notes.
  • n. Sports The major leagues.
  • intransitive v. To pursue academic studies in a major: majoring in mathematics.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of great significance or importance.
  • adj. Being the larger of two intervals denoted by the same ordinal number.
  • adj. Containing the note which is a major third (four half steps) above the tonic.
  • n. The main area of study of a student working toward a degree at a college or university.
  • n. A student at a college or university concentrating on a given area of study.
  • n. A person of legal age.
  • n. The major premise.
  • n. An alternate term for touchdown; short for "major score".
  • v. to concentrate on a particular area of study as a student in a college or university
  • n. a military rank between captain and lieutenant colonel

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Greater in number, quantity, or extent
  • Of greater dignity; more important.
  • Of full legal age; adult.
  • Greater by a semitone, either in interval or in difference of pitch from another tone.
  • n. An officer next in rank above a captain and next below a lieutenant colonel; the lowest field officer.
  • n. A person of full age.
  • n. 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].
  • n. A mayor.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Greater; more important or effective; first in force or consideration; leading; principal: as, the major premise or term of a syllogism.
  • Greater in quantity, number, or extent: as, the major part of the revenue, of an assembly, or of a territory.
  • Of age; having attained to majority.
  • In music
  • Of intervals, standard or normal; literally “greater,” as compared with minor intervals.
  • Of tones, distant by a major interval from a given tone: as, A is the major third of F, etc.
  • Of tonalities and scales, standard or normal: characterized by a major third and also by a major sixth and seventh: opposed to minor.
  • Of triads and chords, characterized by a major third between the root and the tone next above, and a perfect fifth between the root and the second tone above: opposed to minor, diminished, and augmented.
  • Of cadences, ending in a major triad.
  • Of modes in the modern sense, and thus of composition in general, characterized by the use of a major tonality and of major cadences: as, a piece is written throughout in the major mode.
  • In logic, wider; broader; more extensive; a predicate to more subjects.
  • n. Milit., an officer next in rank above a captain and below a lieutenant-colonel; the lowest field-officer.
  • n. In law, a person who is old enough to manage his own concerns. See age, n., 3.
  • n. In music, the major mode, or a major tonality or major chord, taken absolutely.
  • n. In logic
  • n. The major premise of a syllogism, which in direct syllogisms states the rule from which the conclusion is drawn.
  • n. The major extreme of a syllogism.
  • n. Same as mayor.
  • To act the major; look and talk big, or with a military air.
  • In prosody, noting the longer of two types of verse which bear a common name.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. British statesman who was prime minister from 1990 until 1997 (born in 1943)
  • adj. of greater importance or stature or rank
  • n. a commissioned military officer in the United States Army or Air Force or Marines; below lieutenant colonel and above captain
  • adj. greater in scope or effect
  • v. have as one's principal field of study
  • adj. greater in number or size or amount
  • adj. of a scale or mode
  • adj. of greater seriousness or danger
  • adj. of the elder of two boys with the same family name
  • adj. of full legal age
  • adj. of the field of academic study in which one concentrates or specializes
  • n. the principal field of study of a student at a university
  • n. a university student who is studying a particular field as the principal subject


Middle English majour, from Latin māior.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French major (Wiktionary)
Middle English major, from Latin maior, comparative of magnus ("great"), from Proto-Indo-European *maǵ-yes- "greater", comparative of *maǵ-, *meǵ-, "great". (Wiktionary)



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