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According to the online Oxford English dictionary, a magnum opus is

a work of art, music, or literature that is regarded as the most important or best work that an artist, composer, or writer has produced.

Does there exist an opposite term (in the sense of the least important or worst work ever produced by someone)?

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Juvenilia often applies, though the meaning isn't strictly what you ask for. –  TimLymington Jun 12 '13 at 10:08
    
How about the neologistic phrases "minimus opus" or "opus minimus"? (My suggesting the latter is at my own peril, however, as other EL&U contributors may laugh me to scorn for putting the adjective before the noun, which may be "highly improper" in Latin word order! Frankly, I don't know, and I don't care. I think the latter, "opus minimus" has a certain ring to it.) –  rhetorician Jun 12 '13 at 23:19
    
Queen Elizabeth II once had an annus horribilis apparently. Not quite what you're after in terms of a specific piece of work, but it seems to have fallen into common usage as a way of describing a particularly low period. –  Snubian Jun 13 '13 at 1:34
    
@rhetorician Opus (despite its -us ending) is a third-declension neuter noun, so the correct adjective would be minimum. Word order isn't as important as gender! –  Andrew Leach Jun 13 '13 at 7:05
    
@AndrewLeach: I consider myself laughed to scorn! That's too bad, because when he was just a little shaver my son would sit on my lap while I read to him "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves." Whenever I came to the phrase "Open sesame," for some reason I read "Opus Minimus." How deluded I was. How good it is there are people--such as AndrewLeach--who take a stand against ignorance and set us straight in matters pertaining to Latin; who give cabalistic infants like me a much-needed kick in the derriere, particularly regarding third-declension neuter nouns. Thanks Andrew! –  rhetorician Jun 13 '13 at 12:48
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3 Answers

OED uses opus in eighteen definitions, and doesn't list a convenient phrase. (Ignore the red mark, that just positions the list)

list of "opus" phrases in OED

Accessible list: opus; opus alexandrium; opus anglicanum; opus areanum; opus consutum; opus deista; opus filatorium; opus magnum; opus sectile; opus signinum.

Thesaurus.com doesn't list a specific antonym.

So: make one up. I don't know whether parvulum is widely understood, but it appears in some macaronic Christmas carols, and using a phrase which is similar to magnum opus might give the general idea.

parvulum opus — poor or small work

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Thanks Andrew! Actually, it doesn't have to have the word "opus" in it or come from Latin. "Near"-synonyms to magnum opus are masterpiece, masterwork, chef d'oeuvre, pièce de résistance, tour de force etc... I was wondering if a similar terminology existed for the opposite meaning. –  Just Jun 12 '13 at 9:24
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Thanks for the neologism in any case :)! –  Just Jun 12 '13 at 9:28
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You might take a cue from theater reviews. There are so many epic failures (e.g., Damon Lindelof, Prometheus) that reviewers have to come up with new ways to describe them.

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The word "minuscule" can be used as a noun or an adjective.

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