myriad

noun
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

myriad

adjective

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

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Is myriad a noun?: Usage Guide

Noun

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.

Did You Know?

Noun

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The conversation continues through a myriad of Slack channels, emails and phone calls. Kristen Rogers, CNN, "Johns Hopkins' dashboard: The people behind the pandemic's most visited site," 11 July 2020 That’s one of a myriad of compelling unanswered questions wafting through college football’s suddenly morphing universe after the Big Ten declared all 42 of the league’s non-conference games canceled. Eric Hansen, The Indianapolis Star, "No Big Ten? No problem. ACC has Notre Dame football scheduling issues covered," 10 July 2020 Other links include State Police/Department of Safety, local and County Sheriff related pages, state concealed carry statues, local firearm forums, and a myriad of other interesting, applicable information. Chris Mudgett, Outdoor Life, "You Just Purchased a Handgun for Personal Defense, Now What?," 1 July 2020 There are a myriad of factors to consider from introduction to implementation for personal or potential court-use. Susan Ferrechio, Washington Examiner, "Congress inches toward mandating car technology that blocks drunk driving," 9 July 2020 Its death may not be mourned by the millions who knew it only as an annoying plugin that had to be constantly updated just to keep watching videos and playing little Web games (to say nothing of its myriad of security issues). Richard C. Moss, Ars Technica, "The rise and fall of Adobe Flash," 7 July 2020 As an award-winning actress, Taraji P. Henson has graced a myriad of stages and been in tons of exclusive rooms. Jasmine Grant, Essence, "Taraji P. Henson Talks Dealing With Hollywood Microaggressions At ESSENCE Wellness House," 2 July 2020 There are a myriad of ways the U.S. government could back green initiatives with its stimulus funds, but the $2.2 trillion CARES act passed in March was stripped of green earmarks. Breanna T Bradham, Bloomberg.com, "Drastic Covid-19 Slowdown May Hinder Any Green Recovery," 1 July 2020 Georgia's primary election exposed a myriad of issues of voting during a pandemic, beginning with long wait times and including malfunctioning equipment. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, "Atlanta Hawks to transform State Farm Arena into massive voting station for 2020 elections," 30 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Fairview Park City Schools anticipates having all students return with myriad safety precautions in place for the fall. Brenda Cain, cleveland, "How are Cuyahoga County districts handling back to school amid coronavirus surge? See the list," 13 July 2020 With many trails branching off into the myriad corners of the Chesapeake watershed, this trail adds up to nearly 3,000 miles of discovery that mirrors those of the famed explorer. Southern Living, "The Ultimate Guide to the Great Calusa Blueway," 12 July 2020 The continent has 54 countries and myriad cultures — Boateng has spent months researching 17th-century Ghana for a film project — and creators with noble intentions can miss important nuance. Danielle Paquette, Washington Post, "Beyoncé released a video celebrating ‘African tradition.’ Then came the backlash.," 9 July 2020 For those craving adrenaline rushes, the Big Island (No. 3) offers myriad adventures, from world-class surfing to hikes through lava fields and rain forests, as well as art galleries and shopping. Rebecca Ascher-walsh, Travel + Leisure, "The Top 5 Islands in Hawaii," 8 July 2020 Mapping the spread of the coronavirus is an inherently data-rich endeavor, lending itself to the creation of myriad charts, tables, graphs, and dashboards. Fortune, "How designers are visualizing America’s failure to cope with COVID-19," 7 July 2020 Ducks and other water birds muck about while carrying myriad strains of influenza A; pigs aren’t fazed by hosting hepatitis E. Rachel Ehrenberg, Ars Technica, "The bat-virus détente," 3 July 2020 During a career lasting more than 50 years, Mr. Downs held myriad positions including news anchor, game-show... Joe Flint, WSJ, "Hugh Downs, TV’s Everyman, Dies at 99," 2 July 2020 And our ability to bend, but not break against the myriad forces of destruction. Chirlane Mccray, Essence, "Chirlane McCray Reflects On The Enduring Legacy of ESSENCE," 30 June 2020

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.

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First Known Use of myriad

Noun

1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

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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Time Traveler for myriad

Time Traveler

The first known use of myriad was in 1555

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Statistics for myriad

Last Updated

25 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Myriad.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/myriad. Accessed 5 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for myriad

myriad

noun
How to pronounce myriad (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of myriad

 (Entry 1 of 2)

somewhat formal : a very large number of things

myriad

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of myriad (Entry 2 of 2)

somewhat formal : very many

myriad

noun
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

myriad

adjective

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on myriad

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for myriad

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with myriad

Spanish Central: Translation of myriad

Nglish: Translation of myriad for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of myriad for Arabic Speakers

Comments on myriad

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