mul·​ti·​plic·​i·​ty | \ ˌməl-tə-ˈpli-sə-tē How to pronounce multiplicity (audio) \
plural multiplicities

Definition of multiplicity

1a : the quality or state of being multiple or various
b : the number of components in a system (such as a multiplet or a group of energy levels)
2 : a great number
3 : the number of times a root of an equation or zero of a function occurs when there is more than one root or zero the multiplicity of x = 2 for the equation (x − 2)3 = 0 is 3

Examples of multiplicity in a Sentence

a multiplicity of suggestions for turning the company around Shakespeare's works seem to encompass the full multiplicity of human experience.
Recent Examples on the Web In a commercial setting, a multiplicity of hydraulic fractures would be created to interconnect wells. Ian Palmer, Forbes, 19 May 2022 Integrating all those companies has been a complex task due to the multiplicity of corporate records and payment systems. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 11 May 2022 That title suggests illuminating new material from a multiplicity of voices to clarify the whirl of controversy and conspiracy theories that have long surrounded Monroe’s death in 1962. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 25 Apr. 2022 Given this multiplicity of audiences, Rogers and producer Alan Poul tell EW that a major priority was making sure that Tokyo Vice's depiction of '90s Japan did not seem embarrassing or cringe-worthy to Japanese viewers. Christian Holub,, 8 Apr. 2022 China has become a difficult hunting ground for Hollywood movies in the last couple of years, due to a multiplicity of factors. Patrick Frater, Variety, 24 Mar. 2022 Almost 20 years later, the Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie explained that her decision to be a beauty ambassador was in part to remind society that women can have a multiplicity of interests. Washington Post, 26 Apr. 2022 So for me, diversity in its true sense is about a multiplicity of perspectives, subjectivities, and lived experiences. Aramide Tinubu, Essence, 14 Jan. 2022 Designed to rotate to ensure that a multiplicity of cinematic stories are told, these exhibitions — and the museum itself — were widely praised. Jonathan Greenblatt, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 Mar. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of multiplicity

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for multiplicity

Middle English, from Middle French multiplicité, from Late Latin multiplicitat-, multiplicitas, from Latin multiplic-, multiplex

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The first known use of multiplicity was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

22 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Multiplicity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for multiplicity


mul·​ti·​plic·​i·​ty | \ ˌməl-tə-ˈplis-ət-ē How to pronounce multiplicity (audio) \
plural multiplicities

Medical Definition of multiplicity

1 : the quality or state of being multiple or various
2 : the ratio of the number of infectious particles (as of a bacteriophage) to the number of cells at risk monolayer cultures … were infected at an effective multiplicity of approximately 100— J. J. Holland


mul·​ti·​plic·​i·​ty | \ ˌməl-tə-ˈpli-sə-tē How to pronounce multiplicity (audio) \
plural multiplicities

Legal Definition of multiplicity

1a : the quality or state of being multiple or various
b : the charging of a single criminal act or offense as multiple separate charges or counts of an indictment or information multiplicity does not require dismissal of the indictment— W. R. LaFave and J. H. Israel — compare duplicity sense 2, misjoinder

Note: Multiplicity raises the risk of violating the double jeopardy protection against receiving multiple sentences for a single offense. Multiplicity is a defect that can be corrected without dismissal of the case.

2 : a great number joinder is allowed to avoid a multiplicity of actions

More from Merriam-Webster on multiplicity

Nglish: Translation of multiplicity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of multiplicity for Arabic Speakers


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