mul·​ti·​far·​i·​ous ˌməl-tə-ˈfer-ē-əs How to pronounce multifarious (audio)
: having or occurring in great variety : diverse
participated in multifarious activities in high school
multifariousness noun

Did you know?

Before the late 16th-century appearance of multifarious, there was another word similar in form and meaning being used: multifary, meaning "in many ways," appeared—and disappeared—in the 15th century. Before either of the English words existed, there was the Medieval Latin word multifarius, 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-.

Example Sentences

the multifarious interests and activities in which Benjamin Franklin immersed himself
Recent Examples on the Web Democracy demands effort and sacrifice, as well as freedom within limits, especially in a multifarious society. Joe Klein, Washington Post, 12 Jan. 2023 Other researchers, having studied the Amazon up close in mucky fieldwork, object to the use of computer models that apply uniform assumptions to this multifarious biome. Alex Cuadros, New York Times, 4 Jan. 2023 With its meta high jinks and emotional heft, its stark architecture involving just one character and a chorus of his multifarious thoughts, it has rightly been called radical in both form and content. Elisabeth Vincentelli, New York Times, 5 Dec. 2022 That’s unsurprising, given the multifarious impact of the COVID pandemic throughout society, from disruptions at the household level to the broad community. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 25 Oct. 2022 Georgiana in her multifarious endeavors of both the pianoforte and the heart. Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune, 8 Dec. 2022 Their innate talent and a multifarious sound blending country, R&B and soul swiftly gained attention from those in the music community. Jessica Nicholson, Billboard, 9 Nov. 2022 That road has been a constant and multifarious one for Jones. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 18 Sep. 2022 Now Eric Saylor, a professor of music at Drake University, has published a valuable study of Vaughan Williams’s long life and multifarious work, one that will serve both the novice listener and the scholar. Tim Page, WSJ, 19 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

Word History


Medieval Latin multifarius, from Latin multifariam in many places

First Known Use

1593, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of multifarious was in 1593


Dictionary Entries Near multifarious

Cite this Entry

“Multifarious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


mul·​ti·​far·​i·​ous ˌməl-tə-ˈfar-ē-əs How to pronounce multifarious (audio)
: of many and various kinds
the multifarious sounds of the city

Legal Definition


mul·​ti·​far·​i·​ous ˌməl-ti-ˈfar-ē-əs How to pronounce multifarious (audio)
: 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
multifariousness noun

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