mul·​ti·​plic·​i·​ty | \ˌməl-tə-ˈpli-sə-tē \
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

Now the film is a frothy stage play, with a Hedgerow Theatre Company ensemble of just six actors doing quick changes into a multiplicity of characters. Julia M. Klein,, "'His Girl Friday' at Hedgerow: Fast talk, fast pace," 2 July 2018 Cylios Pytlak of France juggled a multiplicity of silver clubs at jaw-dropping speed. Don Aucoin,, "A Cirque du Soleil show that’s as interested in ‘Ahh’ as ‘Wow’," 29 June 2018 Nothing is primitive here; there’s a multiplicity of action. Alastair Macaulay, New York Times, "Review: From Tap to Sci-Fi Rites at Ballet Theater Gala," 22 May 2018 By depicting the same events through a multiplicity of viewpoints, the show complicated how viewers interpreted them. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Dear White People Is Both Timely and Timeless," 5 May 2018 To the project’s proponent, Texan multinational Kinder Morgan, the multiplicity of concerns and the groups voicing them represent risks to the project’s profitability. Richard Denniss, Fortune, "Justin Trudeau’s Pipeline Purchase Isn’t Just Hypocritical, It’s Bad Economics," 30 June 2018 And white men are over-represented in their impact — when in truth, a multiplicity of viewpoints makes for a more vibrant conversation overall. Nina Metz,, "Who gets to tell us what’s good at the movies? White men, apparently," 14 June 2018 Rising from humid lowlands to the world's highest peaks in less than 100 miles, Nepal has a diversity of landscapes equaled only by its multiplicity of religions and traditions. Antonia Neubauer, Town & Country, "How to Plan a Trip to Asia," 5 Oct. 2016 Cheap enough to accommodate all walks of life, Bywater once fostered a multiplicity of people and experiences, a sense of spontaneous possibility and unexpected connections. Anne Gisleson, Curbed, "Bywater faces its future," 23 May 2018

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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Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

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

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More Definitions for multiplicity



English Language Learners Definition of multiplicity

: a very large number


mul·​ti·​plic·​i·​ty | \ˌməl-tə-ˈplis-ət-ē \
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 \
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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to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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