multiplicity

noun
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

Keep scrolling for more

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 History has rhythms, tunes and even harmonies; but the sound of the past is an agonistic multiplicity. Colin Thubron, The New York Review of Books, "Cartographers of Stone and Air," 17 Nov. 2020 Since the term’s modern origins in the seventeenth century, multiplicity has always been the form’s selling point: the provision in one volume of very different voices and concerns that nonetheless have some kind of collective force. Clare Bucknell, The New Yorker, "What Do We Want from Poetry in Times of Crisis?," 22 Dec. 2020 Mormoris says Edge Beauty is also looking at a multiplicity of potential retailers. Marci Robin, Allure, "Dolly Parton Is Coming Out With Her Own Fragrance in Spring 2021," 11 Dec. 2020 No translation can ever encompass the multiplicity of meanings embedded in these hybrid, polyglot, often arcane poems; the translator must choose an interpretation. Ruth Franklin, The New Yorker, "How Paul Celan Reconceived Language for a Post-Holocaust World," 16 Nov. 2020 Combining images and words—where the words were the voices of the people portrayed and not the authoritative voice of the artist, curator, or editor—was a way of understanding documentary photography as a vehicle for a multiplicity of voices. Valeria Luiselli, The New York Review of Books, "Things as They Are," 3 Nov. 2020 Burnett dramatizes historical events through a multiplicity of performances, and offers a glimpse at his own effort to film them. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "Sixty-two Films That Shaped the Art of Documentary Filmmaking," 14 Oct. 2020 Perez and Baeza will discuss the multiplicity of Latinx and Chicano identity politics manifested in their artwork. courant.com, "Community news for the Enfield edition," 24 Sep. 2020 Kebede’s impact and rootedness in the mainstream can be attributed to her range and multiplicity. Harper's BAZAAR, "The Staying Power of Liya Kebede," 20 Oct. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about multiplicity

Time Traveler for multiplicity

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for multiplicity

Last Updated

22 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Multiplicity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/multiplicity. Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for multiplicity

multiplicity

noun
How to pronounce multiplicity (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of multiplicity

formal : a very large number

multiplicity

noun
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

multiplicity

noun
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

Keep scrolling for more

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!