From Middle English mincen, minsen; partly from Old English minsian, ġeminsian (“to make less, make smaller, diminish”), from Proto-West Germanic *minnisōn, from Proto-Germanic *minnisōną (“to make less”); partly from Old French mincer, mincier (“to cut into small pieces”), from mince (“slender, slight, puny”), from Frankish *minsto, *minnisto, superlative of *min, *minn (“small, less”), from Proto-Germanic *minniz (“less”); both from Proto-Indo-European *mey- (“small, little”). Cognate with Old Saxon minsōn (“to make less, make smaller”), Old Dutch minson (“to make smaller”), Gothic 𐌼𐌹𐌽𐌶𐌽𐌰𐌽 (minznan, “to become less, diminish”), Swedish minska (“to reduce, lessen”), Gothic 𐌼𐌹𐌽𐍃 (mins, “slender, slight”). More at min.
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mince (countable and uncountable, plural minces)
- (uncountable) Finely chopped meat; minced meat.
- (uncountable) Finely chopped mixed fruit used in Christmas pies; mincemeat.
- During Christmas time my dad loves to eat mince pies.
- (countable) An affected (often dainty or short and precise) gait.
- 1949, Truman Capote, “Children on their Birthdays”, in A Tree of Night and Other Stories, page 36:
- A wiry little girl in a starched, lemon-colored party dress, she sassed along with a grownup mince, one hand on her hip, the other supporting a spinsterish umbrella.
- 1963, John Fowles, The Collector, page 15:
- She was just the same; she had a light way of walking and she always wore flat heels so she didn't have that mince like most girls.
- (countable) An affected manner, especially of speaking; an affectation.
- 1896, George Bernard Shaw, “Madame Sans-Gene”, in London Saturday Review:
- A very moderate degree of accomplishment in this direction would make an end of stage smart speech, which, like the got-up Oxford mince and drawl of a foolish curate, is the mark of a snob.
- 1928, R. M. Pope, The Education Outlook, volume 80, page 285:
- And, further, who has not heard what someone has christened the "Oxford" mince, where every consonant is mispronounced and every vowel gets a wrong value?
- 2008, Opie Read, The Colossus, page 95:
- [...] a smiling man, portly and impressive, coming toward them with a dignified mince in his walk.
- (countable, Cockney rhyming slang, chiefly in the plural) An eye (from mince pie).
- 2009 May 21, planetdave, “Speed traps”, in PistonHeads, retrieved 2017-03-22:
- Lancashire is a bit nazi about speed and the M6 in that area can be either clear or infested with vans and their helicopter. On the good side the vans tend to be on well sighted bridges so just keep the old minces peeled.
mince (third-person singular simple present minces, present participle mincing, simple past and past participle minced)
- (transitive) To make less; to make small.
- (transitive) To lessen; to diminish; to diminish in speaking; to speak of lightly or slightingly; to minimise.
- Synonyms: see Thesaurus:diminish
- (transitive, rare) To effect mincingly.
- (transitive, cooking) To cut into very small pieces; to chop finely.
- Butchers often use machines to mince meat.
- (archaic, transitive, figuratively) To suppress or weaken the force of.
- 1681, John Dryden, The Spanish Friar, or the Double Discovery:
- Siren, now mince the sin, / And mollify damnation with a phrase.
- To say or utter vaguely (not directly or frankly).
- 1599, William Shakespeare, “The Life of Henry the Fift”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act V, scene ii]:
- I know no ways to mince it in love, but directly to say — "I love you."
- 2017, BioWare, Mass Effect: Andromeda (Science Fiction), Redwood City: Electronic Arts, →OCLC, PC, scene: ELAADEN (HNS) - Nora Tallis Found Alive:
- Despite prolonged exposure to harsh conditions, medics say Nora Tallis returned to the Nexus in stable condition. In a statement to HNS, Tallis did not mince words. "Never send me to that hellhole again."
- to mince one's words
- a minced oath
- (transitive) To affect; to pronounce affectedly or with an accent.
- 1869, Alexander J. Ellis, On Early English Pronunciation, with special reference to Shakespeare and Chaucer, part 1, page 194:
- In some districts of England ll is sounded like w, thus bowd (booud) for BOLD, bw (buu) for BULL, caw (kau) for CALL. But this pronunciation is merely a provincialism, and not to be imitated unless you wish to mince like these blunderers.
- 1905, George Henderson, The Gaelic Dialects, IV, in the Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie, published by Kuno Meyer and L. Chr. Stern, volume 5, page 98:
- One may hear some speakers in Oxford mince brother into brover (brëvë); Bath into Baf; both into bof.
- 1915, Willa Cather, The Song of the Lark:
- "The preacher said it was sympathetic," she minced the word, remembering Mr. Larsen's manner.
- (intransitive) To walk with short steps; to walk in a prim, affected manner.
- 1945 August 17, George Orwell [pseudonym; Eric Arthur Blair], chapter 1, in Animal Farm […], London: Secker & Warburg, →OCLC:
- At the last moment Mollie, the foolish, pretty white mare who drew Mr. Jones's trap, came mincing daintily in, chewing at a lump of sugar.
- 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), London: […] Robert Barker, […], →OCLC, Isaiah 3:16:
- The daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, mincing as they go.
- c. 1596–1598 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Merchant of Venice”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene iv], page 177, column 1:
- I'll […] turn two mincing steps into a manly stride.
- (intransitive) To act or talk with affected nicety; to affect delicacy in manner.
- I love going to gay bars and seeing drag queens mince around on stage.
Current usage in the sense of "to say or utter vaguely" is mostly limited to the phrase "mince words"; e.g., "I won't mince words with you".
- “mince”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.
- mince in Příruční slovník jazyka českého, 1935–1957
- mince in Slovník spisovného jazyka českého, 1960–1971, 1989
- mince in Internetová jazyková příručka
Derived from the verb mincer, from Old French mincier, from Vulgar Latin *minūtiāre (cf. also menuiser), from Latin minūtia.
mince (plural minces)
A minced oath of merde (“shit”).
- “mince”, in Trésor de la langue française informatisé [Digitized Treasury of the French Language], 2012.
|Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.|
mince f (plural minci)
- Obsolete form of minge.
- mince in Academia Română, Micul dicționar academic, ediția a II-a, Bucharest: Univers Enciclopedic, 2010. →ISBN
- inflection of minca:
- English terms derived from Proto-Indo-European
- English terms derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *mey- (small)
- English terms inherited from Middle English
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