Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1600-1700
Language: Latin
Origin: minimus 'smallest'

minimum

2 noun
     
minimum2 [singular]
1 the smallest amount of something or number of things that is possible or necessary [≠ maximum]
a minimum of two hours/£1000 etc
The judge recommended that he should serve a minimum of 12 years.
minimum of
He achieved enviable results with the minimum of effort.
absolute/bare minimum (=the very least amount or number)
Prison inmates are kept in tiny cells, with the bare minimum of furniture.
keep/reduce something to a minimum
She had reduced her consumption of fat and sugar to an absolute minimum.
2

at a/the minimum

used to say that if nothing else is done, this one thing should be done:
At a minimum, we must recruit two new teachers.

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