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

These would-be slaughterers end up being slaughtered by Dalton and his stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), who employ an attack dog, a flame thrower, and a myriad of household objects that get slammed into faces. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Quentin Tarantino’s Ultimate Statement on Movie Violence," 2 Aug. 2019 Heat exhaustion—or when your body overheats in high temperatures—can cause a myriad of uncomfortable symptoms, including nausea, dizziness, heavy sweating, and headaches. Christina Oehler, Health.com, "A Heat Wave Is Expected to Sweep The Nation This Weekend—Here’s How to Stay Cool," 18 July 2019 While emoji can capture a myriad of emotions with one image, many emoji have been misinterpreted from their original meanings. Nadia Suleman, Time, "Apple Teases 230 New Emoji in Celebration of World Emoji Day," 17 July 2019 Of course, Amazon's assistant Alexa can also answer a myriad of questions and control your smart home devices. Marc Saltzman, USA TODAY, "Amazon Prime Day 2019: Here's the best deals for video gamers," 13 July 2019 Performances: The Inamori Pavilion will host a myriad of talent, including the the San Diego Japanese Hula Club and taiko group Genbu Daiko. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Japanese Friendship Garden hosts inaugual Tanabata, festival of star-crossed lovers," 4 July 2019 But the tiny satellite faced a myriad of problems including software glitches, signal losses and battery issues over the course of its mission. Amy Thompson, Smithsonian, "LightSail 2 Launches to Space to Soar on the Power of Sunshine," 25 June 2019 Both come to the Plains as 4-stars, who played a myriad of positions at Frederica Academy. Laura Goldman | Lgoldman@al.com, al.com, "Meet the Tigers: Jashawn Sheffield & Jaylin Simpson," 25 June 2019 There’s also a myriad of issues for the on/off-ramps where cryptocurrencies are transacted, such as exchanges, wallet providers, and password managers. Matthew De Silva, Quartz, "What could possibly go wrong with Facebook’s Libra?," 22 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Halfway through last season, amid myriad offensive struggles, USC fired its offensive line coach. Ryan Kartje, Los Angeles Times, "USC’s talent could spark revival in Clay Helton’s make-or-break year," 1 Aug. 2019 Gold makes a comeback Despite the myriad reasons that a return to the gold standard seems impossible, the dream remains alive, in part because of the efforts of Ron Paul. Gwynn Guilford, Quartz, "The quiet campaign to reinstate the gold standard is getting louder," 3 July 2019 Parents offer myriad reasons for wanting to share their experiences on social media: There's a sense of community there, a source of solidarity and support amid the triumphs and pitfalls of parenting. Caitlin Gibson, Anchorage Daily News, "Gen Z kids are the stars of their parents’ social media - and they have opinions about that," 4 June 2019 This throwaway line suggests that one makes a choice to be an addict, yet among the myriad reasons that lead any individual to first ingest a psychoactive substance, becoming an addict is not one. Marcia Angell, The New York Review of Books, "Painful Choices," 4 Apr. 2019 Ticks are swarming, carrying myriad diseases such as Lyme and Rocky Mountain spotted fever and making people ill. al.com, "Secret government tick experiment created Lyme disease, congressman claims," 18 July 2019 While recent listings like Slack Technologies have seemingly been successful, iHeartMedia, the largest radio provider in the U.S. with over 850 stations, has myriad challenges. Anne Sraders, Fortune, "iHeartMedia is Going Public with a Direct Listing—But It’s No Spotify," 17 July 2019 From high-impact makeup moments to ramped up workouts and time spent soaking up the sun's rays, self-care has a way of taking myriad forms. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "The 10 Best Beauty Instagrams of the Week: Selena Gomez Nails Beach Waves (and More!)," 19 Aug. 2018 Tonight, when the film world comes together to celebrate the Oscars, beauty will be celebrated in all its myriad forms. The Editors Of Gq, GQ, "And the Oscar for Most Stylish Movie Goes To...," 4 Mar. 2018

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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Statistics for myriad

Last Updated

5 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for myriad

The first known use of myriad was in 1555

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More Definitions for myriad

myriad

noun

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with myriad

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for myriad

Spanish Central: Translation of myriad

Nglish: Translation of myriad for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of myriad for Arabic Speakers

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