myr·​i·​ad | \ ˈmir-ē-əd How to pronounce myriad (audio) \

Definition of myriad

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : ten thousand
2 : a great number a myriad of ideas



Definition of myriad (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : innumerable those myriad problems also : both numerous and diverse myriad topics
2 : having innumerable aspects or elements the myriad activity of the new land— Meridel Le Sueur

Is myriad a noun?: Usage Guide


Recent criticism of the use of myriad as a noun, both in the plural form myriads and in the phrase a myriad of, seems to reflect a mistaken belief that the word was originally and is still properly only an adjective. As the entries here show, however, the noun is in fact the older form, dating to the 16th century. The noun myriad has appeared in the works of such writers as Milton (plural myriads) and Thoreau (a myriad of), and it continues to occur frequently in reputable English. There is no reason to avoid it.

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In English, the "ten thousand" sense of myriad mostly appears in references to Ancient Greece, such as the following from English historian Connop Thirwall's History of Greece: "4000 men from Peloponnesus had fought at Thermopylae with 300 myriads." More often, English speakers use myriad in the broad sense—both as a singular noun ("a myriad of tiny particles") and a plural noun ("myriads of tiny particles"). Myriad can also serve as an adjective meaning "innumerable" ("myriad particles"). While some usage commentators criticize the noun use, it's been firmly established in English since the 16th century, and in fact is about 200 years older than the adjective. Myriad comes from Greek myrias, which in turn comes from myrioi, meaning "countless" or "ten thousand."

Examples of myriad in a Sentence

Noun Mr. McCullough hails Adams for being uncannily prescient … foreseeing a myriad of developments, from the difficulty of defeating the British … to the divisive consequences of slavery. — Michiko Kakutani, New York Times, 22 May 2001 Sectarian Protestantism reinforced both American individualism and the tendency of the society to be self-organizing in a myriad of voluntary associations and communities. — Francis Fukuyama, Atlantic, May 1999 Out in the barrios, under the nipa palms, he listened to the myriads of humming cicadas and the call of the geckos. — Nina FitzPatrick, Fables of the Irish Intelligentsia, 1991 To read Marie Corelli, you had to be able to follow several hundred printed words at a time, and there were myriads in England who were up to it. — Hugh Kenner, A Sinking Island, 1987 … laced his fingers behind his head and stared at the myriads of tiny colored dots that make up darkness. — John Steinbeck, East of Eden, 1952 There are a myriad of possibilities. the car can be outfitted with a myriad of options Adjective … the more quotations that could be found, the more easily the subtle differences between the (possibly) myriad usages and meanings of any single word could be identified. This is how historical dictionaries are made … — Simon Winchester, The Meaning of Everything, 2003 The age of white guilt, with its myriad corruptions and its almost racist blindness to minority individuality, may someday go down like the age of racism went down … — Shelby Steele, Harper's, November 2002 World War II accelerated the progress of science and technology into the microcosm. Scientists and technologists played tag with one another in their search for microscopic control. With mathematics and myriad theories, they defined a new microcosm. — Joseph A. Amato, Dust, 2000 The old system's problems were myriad. the myriad problems that today's cities face See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This was made evident by looking at the student collections, which showed a myriad of perspectives on where fashion could go next. Vogue, 25 May 2022 But such portrayals fail to show individuals coming from a myriad of cultural backgrounds, their identities rooted in distinctly different countries and histories. Ann Binlot, CNN, 24 May 2022 Experts including our Grooming Editor Garrett Munce and Senior Commerce Editor Christian Gollayan put a myriad of sea salt sprays to the test and evaluated their effectiveness, scent, and value. John Thompson, Men's Health, 13 May 2022 Traditionally, the customer experience was primarily done through phone calls, but thanks to digitalization, a customer today can reach out using a myriad of different devices. Jeffrey Singman, Forbes, 6 May 2022 The series has also undergone a myriad of transformations throughout the years—does anyone else remember Real World Ex-Plosion?! Amy Mackelden, ELLE, 30 Apr. 2022 Indiana tossed out a myriad of lineups, giving Smith ample opportunity to demonstrate different fits and perimeter skills. Joel Lorenzi, The Indianapolis Star, 12 Apr. 2022 Opening Day is Tuesday, with the Findlay Market Opening Day parade, game at Great American Ball Park against the Cleveland Guardians and a myriad of other events planned to kick off the baseball season. Emily Deletter, The Enquirer, 11 Apr. 2022 His remarks come as the Justice Department on Wednesday announced a myriad of actions against Russian oligarchs and Russian darknet operations. Alexander Mallin, ABC News, 6 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Older adults connected to senior centers are shown to benefit in myriad ways. San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 May 2022 And internally, Adobe continues to steadfastly support its disabled employees in myriad ways, including an Access at Adobe panel discussion on the importance of embracing neurodiversity in the workplace. Steven Aquino, Forbes, 19 May 2022 Many heavier patients report avoiding medical care for fear of mistreatment because of their size—just one of myriad ways weight stigma, or anti-fat bias, manifests in health care. Kelso Harper, Scientific American, 19 May 2022 Market volatility has been closely aligned with the tech giants in recent weeks, but now attention has shifted to retailers as investors consider the myriad ways inflation can strap their businesses, from soaring fuel expenses to swelling payrolls. Taylor Telford, Anchorage Daily News, 19 May 2022 Now that many venues have opened and public gatherings are becoming more frequent, the franchise’s sci-fi balm isn’t as necessary, but still just as vital, and Disney is leveraging its property in myriad ways. Adario Strange, Quartz, 4 May 2022 Abramovich also has myriad investments in the US hidden through complicated networks of shell corporations and hedge funds, The New York Times reported last month. Rachel Woolf For Cnn, CNN, 4 Apr. 2022 Bergeron has played through myriad ailments in his surefire Hall of Fame career. Matt Porter,, 14 May 2022 And although there are myriad tools that allow for user testing, contextual interviews are paramount for firsthand analysis and connection. Goran Paun, Forbes, 13 May 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of myriad


1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1735, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for myriad

Noun and Adjective

Greek myriad-, myrias, from myrioi countless, ten thousand

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Last Updated

27 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Myriad.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for myriad


myr·​i·​ad | \ ˈmir-ē-əd How to pronounce myriad (audio) \

Kids Definition of myriad

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a very large number of things a myriad of possibilities myriads of stars



Kids Definition of myriad (Entry 2 of 2)

: many in number : extremely numerous Underneath the heaps were all the myriad little … things …— Lynne Reid Banks, The Indian in the Cupboard

More from Merriam-Webster on myriad

Nglish: Translation of myriad for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of myriad for Arabic Speakers


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