late 14c., "to chop in little pieces," from Old French mincier "make into small pieces," from Vulgar Latin *minutiare "make small," from Late Latin minutiæ "small bits," from Latin minutus "small" (from PIE root *mei- (2) "small"). Of speech, "to clip affectedly in imitation of elegance," 1540s; of words or language, "to restrain in the interest of decorum," 1590s. Meaning "to walk with short or precise steps" is from 1560s. Related: Minced; mincing.
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