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in a minor key
Having a subtle, understated presentation or demeanor. An allusion to the musical key, the phrase is typically used to describe abstract concepts and characteristics. The film, which elegantly examines the very real struggles of everyday people in the modern age, is wise and human in a minor key.
minor in (something)
To complete a college or university degree with a particular subject as an official secondary focus. Originally I thought I would major in English literature, but I ended up minoring in it. Samantha majored in economics and minored in history.
minor in something
to study a secondary subject in college. (Compare this with major in something.) I minored in math in college. I decided to minor in history.
in a minor key(especially of a literary work) understated.
1995 Independent He was a moralist in a minor key.
To complete a long-term course of study in some subject that is one's secondary focus: My main course of study is biology, and I'm minoring in philosophy.