The Meaning of Modicum: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of modicum? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word modicum, including its definition, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word modicum mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, the word modicum (pronunciation of modicum: ​ˈmɒdɪkəm) is a noun that means a small portion, small amount or a limited quantity

There are many different languages that also use words that mean modicum. You may notice that many of these words look and sound similar to the word modicum. These are college cognates, which are words and phrases that look and sound alike while retaining a similar meaning across languages. These are often formed when two words have the same root or language of origin, such as Latin or Greek. This list of translations of modicum is provided by Word Sense.

  •  French: modique‎
  •  Dutch: weinigje‎ (neut.)
  •  Bulgarian: малко количество‎ (neut.), минимално количество‎ (neut.)
  •  German: bisschen‎
  •  Japanese: 少量‎ (しょうりょう, shōryō), ちょっぴり‎ (choppiri)
  •  Portuguese: un pouco de
  •  Russian: чу́точка‎ (fem.), ничтожное коли́чество (ničtóžnoje kolíčestvo) (neut.), ма́лость‎ (fem.)
  •  Spanish: pizca‎ (fem.), mínimo‎ (masc.), ápice‎ (masc.)
  •  Maori: kanehe‎, takunga‎, takutakunga‎
  •  Italian: un po’ di
  •  Mandarin: 少量‎ (shǎoliàng)

How can the word modicum be used in a sentence?

The word modicum can be used in many different ways in the English language. Below are a few examples of modicum. 

What a shame, the candidates in the election campaign did not show a modicum of maturity or a modicum of respect to the other participants. In the importance of public opinion, they should show just a hint of respect and their campaign would go much further. 

Out of modesty and fear of punishment, the young girl decided never to show a modicum of imagination or a modicum of intelligence to her terrible foster parents. 

With a bit of gumption and a modicum of courage, the group of young girls decided to take on the latest challenge in PC coding with only a modicum of computer knowledge. In a surprising turn of events, their good story made it to the front cover of the week’s awesome tech stories when they won the competition. They certainly have more than just a modicum of talent. 

The peer group loved to joke around. The modicum of eccentricity that they presented made their group have a spirit of fun and feel welcoming to newcomers. 

The year of extraordinary challenges that the family is facing on the old ranch house only forces them to use a modicum of their own intelligence and a dash of invention to make it through. 

The man revealed only a modicum of truth when he was on the stand. He did not tell the whole story that he and the group of con artists were involved in in July. The prosecutor decided to counter misinformation and the little brevity he was showing with a modicum of information of his own. 

The father felt at peace living in a smartphone world, where devices of all kinds sport sensors that provide a modicum of safety to his children. 

With a modicum of good faith, the woman took steps toward recuperation and cut ties with her dealer. A modicum of gentle fun here and there didn’t hurt either. 

As the quiet weekend looms before her, the lonely woman in England hopes that her week won’t be filled with a modicum of shameful brawling at the hand of her boss’ monumental power trip. Even just one less rant would do.

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word mode?

There are many different words that a person can use in place of the word modicum. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning or definition as another given word or phrase. Learning synonyms is a great way to expand your English language vocabulary, and to avoid repeating yourself in written or spoken English. This list of synonyms for the word modicum is provided by Thesaurus.

  • part
  •  scintilla
  •  shaving
  •  particle
  •  taste
  •  pinch
  •  smidgen
  •  mite
  •  sample
  •  speck
  •  excerpt
  •  dose
  •  dash
  •  lump
  •  grain
  •  specimen
  •  little
  •  share
  •  crumb
  •  minim
  •  snip
  •  item
  •  atom
  •  lick
  •  fraction
  •  division
  •  modicum
  •  smidge
  •  trifle
  •  jot
  •  morsel
  •  stump
  •  slice
  •  bit
  •  dot
  •  sprinkling
  •  chip
  •  molecule
  •  portion
  •  drop
  •  snatch
  •  trace
  •  niggle
  •  stub
  •  end
  •  whit
  •  flake
  •  chicken feed
  •  scrap
  •  inch
  •  touch
  •  dollop
  •  splinter
  •  scale
  •  tinge
  •  tittle
  •  sliver
  •  shard
  •  trickle
  •  ounce
  •  segment
  •  snippet
  •  driblet
  •  peanuts
  •  moiety
  •  section
  •  fragment
  •  shred
  •  parcel
  •  dab
  •  droplet
  •  chunk
  •  iota
  •  butt

Are also numerous different words that have the opposite meaning of the word modicum. These opposite words are called antonyms. Learning antonyms is another quick and easy way to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word modicum is also provided by Thesaurus.

  • heap
  •  stacks
  •  scores
  •  body
  •  profuseness
  •  pack
  •  assortment
  •  great quantity
  •  mountain
  •  scads
  •  push
  •  plethora
  •  multiplicity
  •  order
  •  peck
  •  consignment
  •  superabundance
  •  thousands
  •  copiousness
  •  set
  •  bundle
  •  group
  •  breadth
  •  abundance
  •  appreciable amount
  •  wealth
  •  cluster
  •  much
  •  mess
  •  heaps
  •  crowd
  •  loads
  •  oodles
  •  reams
  •  volume
  •  collection
  •  very much
  •  bunch
  •  ocean
  •  load
  •  clump
  •  barrel
  •  fullness
  •  lot
  •  excess
  •  lots
  •  plenty
  •  gobs
  •  oversupply
  •  exuberance
  •  plentifulness
  •  lump
  •  requisition
  •  overage
  •  mass
  •  conglomerate
  •  sufficiency
  •  superfluity
  •  tons
  •  number
  •  all kinds of
  •  amplitude
  •  plenitude
  •  pile
  •  stack
  •  clutch
  •  a lot
  •  riches
  •  batch
  •  great deal
  •  aggregate
  •  circle
  •  completeness
  •  aggregation
  •  conglomeration

What is the origin of the word modicum?

According to Etymonline, the word modicum has been used since late 15c, from the Scottish. This comes from the Latin modicum meaning a little. This is the noun use of neuter of modicus meaning of moderate size or small. This comes from the Latin modus meaning measure or extent, from the Proto-Indo-European roots med meaning to take appropriate measures.

Overall, the word modicum means a small quantity or token amount. This word is Latin in origin. While it may not be used much in natural sounding English, it can be appropriate for academic writing or formal speech.


  1. modicum: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. MODICUM Synonyms: 29 Synonyms & Antonyms for MODICUM | Thesaurus 
  3. MUCH Synonyms: 114 Synonyms & Antonyms for MUCH | Thesaurus 
  4. modicum | Origin and meaning of modicum | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  5. Modicum | Definition of Modicum | Merriam-Webster