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


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

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 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

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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The first known use of multifarious was in 1593

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on multifarious

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with multifarious

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for multifarious

Spanish Central: Translation of multifarious

Nglish: Translation of multifarious for Spanish Speakers

Comments on multifarious

What made you want to look up multifarious? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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