MINOR (Lat. for smaller, lesser), a word used both as an adjective and as a substantive for that which is less than or inferior to another, and often correlatively opposed to that to which " major " is applied in the same connotation. Among the numerous special uses of the word the following may be mentioned: " Minor Friars," sometimes known as " Minorites," i.e. the name (fratres minores, lesser brothers) given by St Francis to the order he founded (see FRANCISCANS) ; " minor canons " are clergymen attached to a cathedral or collegiate church who read and sing the daily service. In some cathedrals, they are known as " vicars choral "; they are not members of the chapter. (For the distinction between holy and minor orders in Christian hierarchy see ORDERS.) The name " Minor Prophets " is used collectively of the twelve prophetical books of the Old Testament from Hosea to Malachi inclusive. (For the distinction in music between major and minor intervals, and for other applications of the correlative term, see Music and HARMONY.) In the categorical syllogism (q.v.) in logic, the minor term is that term which forms the subject of the conclusion, the minor premiss is that which contains the minor term. In law, a " minor " ,is a person under legal age (see INFANT).
In mathematics, the " minor of a determinant " is the determinant formed by erasing an equal number of the rows and columns of the original determinant. If one column and row be erased there is formed the first minor; if two rows and columns the second minor, and so on. The minor axis of a central conic section is the shorter of the two principal axes; it may also be regarded as the line joining the two imaginary foci. In astronomy, the term minor planets is given to the members of the solar system which have their orbits between those of Mars and Jupiter (see PLANETS, MINOR).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)