multiplicity

noun

mul·​ti·​plic·​i·​ty ˌməl-tə-ˈpli-sə-tē How to pronounce multiplicity (audio)
plural multiplicities
1
a
: 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 Designers love these swatches and the multiplicity of weaves to choose from. Rachel Dickinson, Smithsonian Magazine, 26 Mar. 2024 Magid suspected that filming the role-play would be challenging—with a multiplicity of narratives and durations of up to 12 hours—and wanted to focus on what that meant to the protagonists, personally. Savina Petkova, Variety, 11 Mar. 2024 The film is nostalgic and analytical of urban life’s multiplicity and its unavoidable anonymity. Armond White, National Review, 6 Mar. 2024 The multiplicity of programs to deal with homelessness cries out for some kind of independent appraisal of what’s been spent and how effective the spending has been. Dan Walters, The Mercury News, 29 Feb. 2024 Weaver comes from a Baltimore Ravens defense whose defining trait was its multiplicity. Daniel Oyefusi, Miami Herald, 12 Feb. 2024 In Shostakovich’s case, this multiplicity was protective. Michael Andor Brodeur, Washington Post, 26 Jan. 2024 Peele’s foreword highlights the multiplicity of the tales that follow. Stephen Kearse, The Atlantic, 26 Jan. 2024 To add to the multiplicity of interpretations of the experiments, one of Google’s collaborators holds a different view. Sophia Chen, WIRED, 21 Dec. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'multiplicity.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near multiplicity

Cite this Entry

“Multiplicity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/multiplicity. Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

multiplicity

noun
mul·​ti·​plic·​i·​ty ˌməl-tə-ˈplis-ət-ē How to pronounce multiplicity (audio)
plural multiplicities
1
: the quality or state of being multiple or various
2
: a great number

Medical Definition

multiplicity

noun
mul·​ti·​plic·​i·​ty ˌməl-tə-ˈplis-ət-ē How to pronounce multiplicity (audio)
plural multiplicities
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 100J. J. Holland

Legal Definition

multiplicity

noun
mul·​ti·​plic·​i·​ty ˌməl-tə-ˈpli-sə-tē How to pronounce multiplicity (audio)
plural multiplicities
1
a
: 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 indictmentW. 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

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