mul·​ti·​far·​i·​ous | \ˌməl-tə-ˈfer-ē-əs \

Definition of multifarious 

: having or occurring in great variety : diverse participated in multifarious activities in high school

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Other Words from multifarious

multifariousness noun

Synonyms for multifarious


divers, manifold, myriad

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Was multifarious Used in Medieval Times?

Dictionary makers have dated the first appearance of "multifarious" in print as 1593 - and rightly so - but before that time another word similar in form and meaning was being used: multifary, meaning "in many ways" and appearing (and disappearing) in the 15th century. Before either of the English words existed, there was the Medieval Latin word multifarius (same meaning as "multifarious"), from Latin multifariam, meaning "in many places or "on many sides." "Multi-," as you may know, is a combining form meaning "many." A relative of "multifarious" in English is "omnifarious" ("of all varieties, forms, or kinds"), created with "omni-" ("all") rather than "multi-."

Examples of multifarious in a Sentence

the multifarious interests and activities in which Benjamin Franklin immersed himself

Recent Examples on the Web

Scott Pask’s bare-boards set, lighted with nowhere-to-hide clarity by Adam Honoré, consists of some sheets of parachute silk and olive-drab packing crates, which are put to multifarious use. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: Bad Girl Makes Good in a Glorious ‘Carmen Jones’," 27 June 2018 He is widely seen as understanding the multifarious mechanics of sanctions, a rare feat. New York Times, "He Was a Tireless Critic of the Iran Deal. Now He Insists He Wanted to Save It.," 13 May 2018 But to modern readers, other aspects of Zamyatin’s multifarious parable will seem more relevant. The Economist, "An eerie dystopian prophecy by a disillusioned Bolshevik," 31 May 2018 That includes this particular telling, rendered by a multifarious cast of five, under the direction of David Herskovits. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: Reliving Those Arabian Nights in ‘Pay No Attention to the Girl’," 2 Apr. 2018 The future is multifarious, many-platformed; the internet makes television, like punk rock before it, available to entrepreneurial outsiders with a work ethic and not necessarily a lot of money. Robert Lloyd,, "What the cancelation of shows like 'One Mississippi' and 'I Love Dick' may portend for the future," 14 Mar. 2018 The presenters on the telecast were far more diverse — far more representative of the multifarious energies of popular culture — than the winners. Manohla Dargis, A.o. Scott And Wesley Morris, New York Times, "#MeToo, Harvey Weinstein and Awkward TV: Our Critics Talk Oscars," 5 Mar. 2018 The two recording artists earned nominations for a multifarious list of collaborations and fusions, which points to a new wave of international pop in urban Latin. Marjua Estevez, Billboard, "Latin Grammys 2017: 20 Lit Tracks From This Year's Urban Nominees," 3 Nov. 2017 Kelly Cunningham, National University System NO: The multifarious legislation will not rectify 50 years of chronic dysfunction in California’s housing mismanagement. Roger Showley,, "State housing legislation: Enough done?," 13 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'multifarious.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of multifarious

1593, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for multifarious

Medieval Latin multifarius, from Latin multifariam in many places

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Last Updated

24 Oct 2018

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The first known use of multifarious was in 1593

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English Language Learners Definition of multifarious

: of many and various kinds


mul·​ti·​far·​i·​ous | \ˌməl-ti-ˈfar-ē-əs \

Legal Definition of multifarious 

: having or occurring in great variety : diverse also : uniting usually in an improper way distinct and independent matters, subjects, or causes point one is multifarious, and we must break it down for analysis: a) the alleged reformation of the decree; and b) the order that appellant pay Spradley v. Hutchison, 787 S.W.2d 214 (1990) — compare misjoinder

Other Words from multifarious

multifariousness noun

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Comments on multifarious

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by force of circumstances

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