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

In the end, India's space officials believe that the myriad delays will increase Chandrayaan-2's chance of success. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "India Will Attempt to Land on the Moon in September," 9 May 2019 An expansive show at the Met shows the myriad ways in which a work that many consider to be the world’s first novel has been interpreted over the centuries. Lee Lawrence, WSJ, "‘The Tale of Genji: A Japanese Classic Illuminated’ Review: An Ancient Story Continually Reinvented," 10 Apr. 2019 But the real finishing Parisienne touch came down to a myriad of oversize costume earrings adorned with metallics, diamanté, and fringe that functioned like va-va-voom hair accessories. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "A Guide to Easy French Girl Glamour—Straight From the Chloé Runway," 27 Sep. 2018 Colonel Gilpin has been given the unenviable task of dealing with a myriad of untenable issues. Travis Andersen, BostonGlobe.com, "20 state troopers face possible discipline in overtime scam probe," 20 Mar. 2018 Puerto Rico As cleanup following the 2017 storms continues, the island is inviting tourists to take advantage of a myriad of savings. Melanie Reffes, USA TODAY, "Summer's on sale at luxurious Caribbean resorts," 15 May 2018 In his Sunday column, John Myers takes a quick look at the myriad of election laws that make the tabulation of votes stretch out a week or more. Christina Bellantoni, latimes.com, "The California primary is tomorrow. Get ready for a long night (or week!)," 4 June 2018 Art lovers can enjoy some wonderful viewing experiences at a myriad of destinations throughout the West Valley. Oriana Parker, azcentral, "Where to see art in the West Valley," 21 Apr. 2018 Since then, the couple has cheered each other on at a myriad of races — sometimes dressing in T-Rex, pink flamingo, or penguin costumes to lighten the mood. Laney Ruckstuhl, BostonGlobe.com, "This couple ran the Boston Marathon – and then said ‘I do’," 17 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

There’s something timeless and old-fashioned about plumes, and designers found myriad ways to use them. Emily Farra, Vogue, "The 8 Major Trends of the Spring 2020 Bridal Season," 17 Apr. 2019 Public-health officials and doctors face myriad obstacles when trying to persuade patients to get vaccinated. Ryan Blethen, The Seattle Times, "How do you persuade people to vaccinate? Clark County measles outbreak highlights the difficulties," 13 Apr. 2019 Despite being part of a centuries-old institution with myriad rituals and customs, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle aren't afraid to break from tradition. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "How Meghan Markle's Birth Plan Will Differ from Kate Middleton's," 11 Apr. 2019 Gifted people are attracted to certain locations for myriad reasons. WSJ, "Explaining the U.S. Urban Housing Shortages," 16 Jan. 2019 In recent years, as the women’s mosque concept has seeped into America, critics have responded in myriad ways. Asma Uddin, Teen Vogue, "On Muslim Women's Day, Women-Only Mosques Are About Much More Than Prayer," 27 Mar. 2019 These days, there are myriad budget apps on the market—many of which are free, and all of which promise to make saving money a cinch. Lindsey Lanquist, SELF, "15 Budget Apps That Are Basically a Financial Adviser in Your Phone," 14 May 2018 Campers can participate in myriad activities at different parks throughout Miami-Dade County and Broward counties. Caitlin Granfield, miamiherald, "Your child will never be bored at these camps | Miami Herald," 6 Apr. 2018 Read more: How to Stop Kim Jong Un This is important as North Korean embassies abroad operate as revenue-generating hubs for myriad illicit activities. Charlie Campbell / Beijing, Time, "It's Time to Give the Trump Administration Some Credit for North Korea Progress," 7 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

13 May 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

Comments on myriad

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