en·​ne·​ad ˈe-nē-ˌad How to pronounce ennead (audio)
: a group of nine

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Since ancient times, various groups of people have considered nine to be a very special and sacred number. Legends and literature have long characterized groups of nine as having a special, in some cases magical, significance. Ancient Egyptians organized their gods into groups of nine; even today, their principal group of gods (headed by sun god Re-Atum) is called the "Great Ennead of Heliopolis." The Ennead English speakers use in that name traces to ennea, the Greek word for "nine." Ennead is also used generally to refer to other groups of ancient gods. Furthermore, it is the name given to six sets of nine treatises by Greek philosopher Plotinus that were collected and organized by his 3rd-century disciple, Porphyry.

Examples of ennead in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web An ennead could mean any group of nine deities that operate together, but the most well known is the Great Ennead of Heliopolis. Tribune News Service, cleveland, 16 Apr. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ennead.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Greek ennead-, enneas, from ennea nine — more at nine

First Known Use

1550, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ennead was in 1550


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Cite this Entry

“Ennead.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ennead. Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

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