myriad

noun
myr·i·ad | \ˈmir-ē-əd \

Definition of myriad 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : ten thousand

2 : a great number a myriad of ideas

myriad

adjective
myr·i·ad | \ˈmir-ē-əd \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Chronicle photographers made pictures from a myriad of events including the NBA Finals, the San Francisco Mayoral election, a moving memorial service for San Francisco resident Jevon Cael and the perspective of window washers in San Francisco. Rj Mickelson, SFChronicle.com, "Photos of the week: June 5, 2018 - June 11, 2018," 11 July 2018 The new DoublePoint is financially backed by a myriad of private equity players and will focus on developing its 70,000 net acres in the Midland Basin portion of the Permian. Jordan Blum, Houston Chronicle, "Double Eagle and FourPoint create new Permian producer," 5 June 2018 He was also elected as a Director to a myriad of public and private Boards. Sun-Sentinel.com, "Deaths in South Florida: 6/5," 5 June 2018 That special someone turned out to be Miranda, who has appeared in a myriad of skits with Fallon in the past. Morgan Enos, Billboard, "Jimmy Fallon and Lin-Manuel Miranda Goof Off While Boating in 'Two Goats in a Boat' Video: Watch," 1 June 2018 Jay Howard loved to be with family, watching and helping his best friend and grandson, Alex working on his cars and talking about a myriad of topics. courant.com, "Jay Howard McCollum," 30 May 2018 Eastern Congo has long had problems caused by a myriad of armed groups that compete for the region's mineral wealth. Fox News, "2 UN peacekeepers freed in Congo's southeast," 17 May 2018 Kurz, a licensed professional clinical counselor, shared information about a myriad of pets, from dogs and cats to birds and horses. Cheryl Higley, cleveland.com, "Man arrested on warrant, drunken driving charge: Avon Lake police," 4 Mar. 2018 The landscape team also found a magnolia tree named Betty and planted it in the center of the park, surrounded by a myriad of flowers and shrubs, to honor Chafin Rash. Leah Asmelash, charlotteobserver, "Dennis Rash helped reshape uptown Charlotte. Now this neighborhood is honoring him. | Charlotte Observer," 25 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Absent an agreement with the E.U. on commerce, defense, immigration, monetary and myriad other arrangements, Britain would be free of Europe, yes, but estranged from its largest trading and security partner. William Booth, Washington Post, "Two years after Brexit vote, British leaders still tied in knots over how to leave Europe," 20 June 2018 Of course, Brown could have myriad other reasons for bringing McLaren to America. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: McLaren seems destined to be part of IndyCar's future — one way or another," 4 June 2018 There are myriad reasons that contributed to the national rape kit backlog, experts say. Meris Lutz, ajc, "Rape kit backlog yields new leads in metro Atlanta cold cases," 1 June 2018 Now that the cult-favorite show has come to a close, its Emmy-winning star is shedding her myriad characters and leaving just one: herself. Rosa Heyman, Marie Claire, "MarieClaire.com's Most Read, Shared, and Loved Stories of 2017," 22 Dec. 2017 The family’s fortune, earned through Purdue, has been donated to myriad institutions. Susan Dunne, courant.com, "Gallery Owner Says Opioid Exhibit, Protest At Purdue Just The Beginning Of 'Spoon Movement'," 26 June 2018 Parents do this in myriad ways — chip in on tuition, help out after college, or contribute to a down payment on a home. Charlotte Cowles, The Cut, "I’m 34 and My Parents Still Give Me a Clothing Allowance," 15 June 2018 Brazil has received tens of thousands of those migrants, many of whom arrive at the border malnourished and with myriad health problems. Sarah Dilorenzo, The Seattle Times, "US VP to focus on Venezuela in 3rd trip to Latin America," 25 June 2018 Any solution to America’s myriad immigration problems has to start with the recognition that the nativism of many voters is the single biggest hurdle to crafting humane policies. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Laura Bush condemns Trump’s family separation policy, but will the GOP listen?," 18 June 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.

See More

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

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

Adjective

see myriad entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about myriad

Listen to Our Podcast about myriad

Statistics for myriad

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for myriad

The first known use of myriad was in 1555

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for myriad

myriad

noun

English Language Learners Definition of myriad

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a very large number of things

myriad

adjective

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

: very many

myriad

noun
myr·i·ad | \ˈmir-ē-əd \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on myriad

What made you want to look up myriad? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

required by fashion, etiquette, or custom

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!