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

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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 Here, though, the ambition is for a wider view: a multiplicity of minds. New York Times, "Ben Lerner’s ‘The Topeka School’ Revisits the Debates of the ’90s," 3 Oct. 2019 Naspers is adamant that a multiplicity of shareholders are represented in the two main holding companies that control the firm, and that their main objective is to preserve its independence. Alex Webb | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Europe’s New Tech Giant Is 100 Times More Outrageous Than Facebook," 10 June 2019 In her political life, as well, Meer continued to insist on a multiplicity of perspectives. Anakwa Dwamena, The New Yorker, "The Defiantly Everyday Drawings of Fatima Meer," 23 Oct. 2019 The thing that’s a bit unique is the multiplicity of their defensive front. Nick Moyle,, "Oklahoma’s improved defense could be biggest challenge for Texas," 10 Oct. 2019 There’s such a multiplicity of ways to dress, but often the cream rises to the top. Stephanie Sporn, The Hollywood Reporter, "What It Takes to Make the International Best Dressed List," 7 Oct. 2019 In fact, the overreactions by Nigeria and other African countries simply undercut the South African constituencies that have a crucial stake in wide-ranging reforms that address the multiplicity of problems around xenophobia. Gilbert M Khadiagala, Quartz Africa, "Nigerians aren’t targeted more than other Africans in South Africa’s xenophobic attacks but the damage is done," 12 Sep. 2019 Lastly, having such a multiplicity of tax heads is a recipe for inefficiency. Shoaib Daniyal, Quartz India, "Various cesses levied by the Modi government are squeezing Indian state budgets," 23 Aug. 2019 Newsletter Sign-up There’s a multiplicity of things. Chris Kornelis, WSJ, "Mo Willems Prepares Another ‘Pigeon’ Book," 26 June 2019

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.

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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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Time Traveler for multiplicity

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for multiplicity

Last Updated

20 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Multiplicity.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 20 January 2020.

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More Definitions for multiplicity


How to pronounce multiplicity (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of multiplicity

formal : a very large number


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

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Comments on multiplicity

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


not to be intimidated or subdued

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