“minutes (of meeting)”

In English, m..i..n..u..t..e has two different meanings. One refers to time (seconds, minutes, hours, etc) and the other to size (small). In the second case, the word sounds like “my newt”. Both words are derived from the Latin “minutus”. I understand the original “minutes” of a meeting referred to size rather than time. In the old days, when the minutes were recorded, they were done so in very small handwriting; later a carefully edited and complete version of the content was written in larger handwriting – this process was called “engrossing”. The term is used to describe the large writing sometimes used in legal documents.

The Hindu- ‘Know Your English’ Series, May 31, 2004


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