Word Confusion: Miner versus Minor

Posted June 19, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

It’s a minor point that both miner and minor are heterographs. What’s truly important is knowing the difference between a noun that digs from a much busier adjective-noun-verb, even if it is considered lesser.

For sure, I never want to read about minors digging for coal. Mostly because that’s just wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Children should never be working in such a situation.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Miner Minor
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

Miners digging the Bosruck railway tunnel

“Bosruck Durchstich, 1905” is on page 137 from Die Steyr: Landschaft und Menschen am Fluss by Willibald Girkinger and Wolfgang Heitzmann and published by Landesverlag in 1990, via Wikimedia Commons

Miners piercing through the Bosruck railway tunnel.

Pupils in a small village school in a rural area in northern Laos

“Primary [School in] Laos” is Masae’s own work and is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Minors are considered children.

Part of Grammar:
Noun 1 and 2
Plural for the noun: miners
Adjective; Noun; Proper Noun; Verb, intransitive

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: minors

Past tense or past participle: minored

Gerund or present participle: minoring

A person who works in a mine 1

  • A person who obtains units of a cryptocurrency by running computer processes to solve specific mathematical problems

[Historical] A person who digs tunnels in order to destroy an enemy position with explosives

A large machine for the automatic extraction of minerals, especially coal, from a mine
A small South American bird of the ovenbird family that excavates a long burrow for breeding, the Geositta, which is part of the Furnariidae family

Short for leaf miner

An Australian bird of the honeyeater family (Manorina of the family Meliphagidae, which includes five species), having a loud call and typically nesting colonially 2

Lesser in importance, seriousness, or significance

[Music; of a scale] Having intervals of a semitone between the second and third degrees, and (usually) the fifth and sixth, and the seventh and eighth

  • [Of an interval] Characteristic of a minor scale and less by a semitone than the equivalent major interval
  • [Usually postpositive; of a key or mode] Based on a minor scale, tending to produce a sad or pensive effect

[Logic; of a term] Occurring as the subject of the conclusion of a categorical syllogism

  • [Of a premise] Containing the minor term in a categorical syllogism

A person under the age of full legal responsibility

[Music] A minor key, interval, or scale

  • [Minor; bell-ringing] A system of change-ringing using six bells

[North American; the minors] The minor leagues in a particular professional sport, especially baseball

[North American] A college student’s subsidiary subject or area of concentration

[Logic] A minor term or premise

[Bridge] Short for minor suit

Proper Noun:
Male given name

Verb, intransitive:
[North American; minor in] Study or qualify in as a subsidiary subject at college or university

The miners were freed after spending four days trapped underground.

The continuous miner broke down this morning.

Anyone can become a bitcoin miner.

Tell the miners to set the charges.

Their faces blackened, you can’t tell one miner from another at the end of a work day.

The temperate barren Andean highlands are inhabited by several species of miners.

A leaf miner is the larva of an insect that lives in and eats the leaf tissue of plants.

The Manorina are notable for the complex social organization of its various species, including the black-eared miner, the yellow-throated miner, the noisy miner, and the bell miner.

It only needs some minor alterations.

When a major scale and a natural minor scale have the same key signature, they are relative keys.

A number with a flat represents a minor interval.

Vivaldi wrote the Concerto in A Minor.

Aristotle defined a minor premise as being a specific statement, which when combined with a major premise, reaches a conclusion.

Since all men are mortal, a major premise, and Socrates is a man, a minor premise, we may conclude that Socrates is mortal.

In the United States as of 1995, minor is generally legally defined as a person under the age of 18.

Guitar chord scales include A minor, D♭, and F# amongst many more.

Ringing a Plain Bob Minor uses six bells.

He’s been pitching in the minors for six years.

I have a minor in digital media.

Aristotle’s minor premise is the second half of his logic syllogism.

Opening a bridge game with a minor suit can actually open a number of issues.

Proper Noun:
The star constellation Ursa Minor is also known as Little Bear.

Gamma Ursae Minoris have been called the guardians of the pole star.

Verb, intransitive:
One can minor in most any course of study.

Students majoring in engineering or any of the sciences would be wise to minor in business, especially when it comes to patents.

Noun: mineworker Noun: minor-leaguer, minority
History of the Word:
1 Middle English is from the Old French minour, which is from miner meaning to mine, an excavation in the earth.

2 Early 19th century re-spelling of the Hindi name myna or mynah.

Middle English from the Latin smaller, less is related to minuere meaning lessen. The term originally denoted a Franciscan friar, suggested by the Latin name Fratres Minores meaning Lesser Brethren, chosen by St. Francis for the order.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

A photograph of a minor player on a youth baseball camp sponsored by the Madisonville Miners.