noun myr·i·ad \ˈmir-ē-əd\

: a very large number of things

Full Definition of MYRIAD

:  ten thousand
:  a great number <a myriad of ideas>

Usage Discussion of MYRIAD

Recent criticism of the use of myriad as a noun, both in the plural form myriads and in the phrase a myriad of, seems to reflect a mistaken belief that the word was originally and is still properly only an adjective. As the entries here show, however, the noun is in fact the older form, dating to the 16th century. The noun myriad has appeared in the works of such writers as Milton (plural myriads) and Thoreau (a myriad of), and it continues to occur frequently in reputable English. There is no reason to avoid it.

Examples of MYRIAD

  1. There are a myriad of possibilities.
  2. <the car can be outfitted with a myriad of options>
  3. Mr. McCullough hails Adams for being uncannily prescient … foreseeing a myriad of developments, from the difficulty of defeating the British … to the divisive consequences of slavery. —Michiko Kakutani, New York Times, 22 May 2001

Origin of MYRIAD

Greek myriad-, myrias, from myrioi countless, ten thousand
First Known Use: 1555

Related to MYRIAD

abundance, barrel, basketful, boatload, bucket, bunch, bundle, bushel, carload, chunk, deal, dozen, fistful, gobs, good deal, heap, hundred, lashings (also lashins) [chiefly British], loads, mass, mess, mountain, much, multiplicity, lot, oodles, pack, passel, peck, pile, plateful, plenitude, plentitude, plenty, pot, potful, profusion, quantity, raft, reams, scads, sheaf, shipload, sight, slew, spate, stack, store, ton, truckload, volume, wad, wealth, yard
ace, bit, dab, dram, driblet, glimmer, handful, hint, lick, little, mite, mouthful, nip, ounce, peanuts, pinch, pittance, scruple, shade, shadow, smidgen (also smidgeon or smidgin or smidge), speck, spot, sprinkle, sprinkling, strain, streak, suspicion, tad, taste, touch, trace

Other Number-Related Terms

jubilee, quarantine, score, twain

Rhymes with MYRIAD


adjective myr·i·ad \ˈmir-ē-əd\

: very many

Full Definition of MYRIAD

:  innumerable <those myriad problems>; also :  both numerous and diverse <myriad topics>
:  having innumerable aspects or elements <the myriad activity of the new land — Meridel Le Sueur>

Examples of MYRIAD

  1. The old system's problems were myriad.
  2. <the myriad problems that today's cities face>
  3. … the more quotations that could be found, the more easily the subtle differences between the (possibly) myriad usages and meanings of any single word could be identified. This is how historical dictionaries are made … —Simon Winchester, The Meaning of Everything, 2003

Origin of MYRIAD

(see 1myriad)
First Known Use: 1765


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