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Quick answer
"Menor" is an adjective which is often translated as "smaller", and "mayor" is an adjective which is often translated as "bigger". Learn more about the difference between "menor" and "mayor" below.
An adjective is a word that describes a noun (e.g. the big dog).
1. (comparative)
a. smaller (in size)
Tengo que comprar una talla menor de pantalón.I need to buy these pants in a smaller size.
b. younger (in age)
Ella es menor que yo.She is younger than I am.
c. under (a certain age)
Los niños menores de 12 años no pagan.Children under 12 don't pay.
d. lower (in number, value)
Di un número menor de 15.Say a number lower than 15.
e. lesser (in quantity, importance)
La contaminación afecta a las urbes y, en menor medida, también a las zonas rurales.Pollution affects the cities and, to a lesser extent, rural areas too.
2. (superlative)
a. smallest (in size)
Dame el menor tomate que tengas, por favor.Give me the smallest tomato you have, please.
b. youngest (in age)
¿Cómo se llama tu hijo menor?What's the name of your youngest son?
c. lowest (in number, value)
De todas estas, ¿cuál es la cifra menor?Of all these, which is the lowest figure?
d. least (in quantity, importance)
Iba con retraso, pero ese era el menor de mis problemas.I was running late, but that was the least of my problems.
3. (minimal)
a. slightest
No te preocupes; no tiene la menor importancia.Don't worry; it doesn't have the slightest importance.
4. (secondary)
a. minor
La exposición incluye obras menores de Picasso.The exhibition contains minor works by Picasso.
5. (music)
a. minor
Mi pieza favorita de Mozart es la Gran Misa en do menor.Mi favorite of Mozart's works is the Great Mass in C minor.
This means that the noun can be masculine or feminine, depending on the gender of person it refers to (e.g. el doctor, la doctora).
6. (underage person)
a. minor
Los menores no pueden comprar alcohol.Minors are not allowed to buy alcohol.
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An adjective is a word that describes a noun (e.g. the big dog).
1. (related to size)
a. bigger (comparative)
Nos hemos comprado una casa mayor.We have bought a bigger house.
b. larger (comparative)
Nos iría muy bien una habitación mayor.We could use a larger room.
c. biggest (superlative)
Elegimos la pizza mayor.We chose the biggest pizza.
d. largest (superlative)
El mayor océano del mundo es el Pacífico.The world's largest ocean is the Pacific Ocean.
2. (related to age)
a. older (comparative)
María es mayor que Sara.Mary is older than Sarah.
b. elder (comparative)
Te presento a mi hermano mayor.Let me introduce you to my elder brother.
c. oldest (superlative)
Con 101 años, Juan era el mayor del pueblo.At 101 years, John was the oldest man in the village.
d. eldest (superlative)
Mi hijo mayor va a ser piloto de cazas.My eldest son is going to become a fighter pilot.
e. grown-up
El alcohol es para personas mayores de edad.Alcohol is for grown-ups.
f. elderly
Las personas mayores han de cuidarse mucho.Elderly people should take good care of themselves.
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