mul·​ti·​far·​i·​ous | \ ˌməl-tə-ˈfer-ē-əs How to pronounce multifarious (audio) \

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


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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 Disasters are by definition sudden and terrible, but their causes are typically complex and multifarious. Emma Marris, The Atlantic, "The United States Has Become a Disaster Area," 22 Sep. 2020 No, the Federal Writers Project’s greatest gift lay in introducing Americans to their multifarious, astonishing, broken country. David Kipen, Los Angeles Times, "85 years ago, FDR saved American writers. Could it ever happen again?," 6 May 2020 James sustained his multifarious career as a writer and TV personality for decades, before stepping away from his television show in 2001., "You're using a browser set to private or incognito mode.," 29 Nov. 2019 Many in Russia are reluctant to place the country in the position of a security provider because this would involve multifarious responsibilities. Madeline Roache, Time, "30 Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Russia Is Only Pretending to Be a Major Power," 9 Nov. 2019 Although a multi-day backpacking trip is the optimum way to experience the multifarious features of this unforgiving backcountry, there’s an easier way to get an overview of the canyon’s scale and diversity. Mare Czinar, azcentral, "Sycamore Canyon hike has dramatic views, but don't venture over the edge unprepared," 11 Sep. 2019 But don’t underestimate the importance of Ryan Courtney’s props, which assume alarmingly multifarious roles, and Raja Feather Kelly’s choreography. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: Theater as Sabotage in the Dazzling ‘Fairview’," 17 June 2018 No single response can blunt these multifarious activities, but transparency is the place to start. William A. Galston, WSJ, "Roll Back China’s Soft-Power Campaign," 4 Dec. 2018 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

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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Time Traveler for multifarious

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The first known use of multifarious was in 1593

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Statistics for multifarious

Last Updated

5 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Multifarious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Oct. 2020.

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How to pronounce multifarious (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of multifarious

formal : of many and various kinds


mul·​ti·​far·​i·​ous | \ ˌməl-ti-ˈfar-ē-əs How to pronounce multifarious (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on multifarious

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Nglish: Translation of multifarious for Spanish Speakers

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