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.

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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 Movement can contribute to health in a myriad of ways, and this year has provided a clear depiction of the benefits of movement that have nothing to do with aesthetics. Shauna Harrison, SELF, "Fitness Changed Big in 2020. Here’s What It Means for Us Going Forward," 5 Jan. 2021 Online sites such as saatchiart.com and absolutarts.com are fantastic places to peruse contemporary art in a myriad of genres and price points. Shivani Vora, refinery29.com, "A Beginner’s Guide To Building An Art Collection — On A Budget," 30 Dec. 2020 Players whose value to their team stood out in a myriad of ways were reserved for this classification. Matt Goul, cleveland, "Medina’s Luke Hensley is the cleveland.com Offensive Player of the Year: 2020 all-area football," 7 Dec. 2020 Reich often discusses the merits of being multiple, meaning attacking teams in a myriad of ways so as not to become predictable. Jim Ayello, The Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Can the Colts win without a No. 1 (or No. 2) receiver? So far, the answer is yes," 5 Nov. 2020 Between the manger and the cross there were a myriad of moments when the weight of divinity in the face of humanity may have felt like a hopeless thing to carry. Essence, "Finding Joy, Peace And Healing During A Pandemic Christmas," 22 Dec. 2020 Lillard and McCollum revere Anthony and certainly wanted him back for a myriad of reasons. oregonlive, "Carmelo Anthony’s impact on Portland Trail Blazers runs deeper than minutes played," 7 Dec. 2020 From stylized pregnancy reveals to new-mom glam, present-day motherhood comes with a myriad of aesthetic options. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Gigi Hadid’s First Mommy-and-Me Selfie Is a Bare-Faced Beauty Moment," 25 Nov. 2020 Croda Chief Executive Officer Steve Foots is now showing the same ambition to build a complete offering for the myriad of fast-moving boutique brands that are breaking into personal-care markets. Myriam Balezou, Bloomberg.com, "Croda Buys Iberchem for $973 Million in Fragrance Expansion," 18 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Scooters have created myriad issues for cities since they were first introduced a few years ago. Paul Berger, WSJ, "Superpedestrian Gets $60 Million Funding Boost in New York Push," 21 Dec. 2020 But this will take time, because there are myriad issues to sort out. Stephanie Baker, Bloomberg.com, "The Coronavirus Vaccine Could Be the Ultimate Gateway Drug," 16 Dec. 2020 Weather conditions are nearly perfect, but there are still myriad technical issues with this new hardware that could prevent a flight today. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Engine abort at T-1.3 seconds scrubs Starship launch attempt [Updated]," 8 Dec. 2020 Facebook and hate speech From the beef-ban to the Kashmir issue, hate is incited on Facebook around myriad issues with little repercussion. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "Facebook’s public policy head is perhaps the least appealing job opening in India right now," 18 Nov. 2020 But at 2-5 with myriad issues elsewhere on the roster, the future is more important than the present. Star Tribune, "Vikings should wheel and deal at NFL trade deadline despite victory over Packers," 2 Nov. 2020 Whether subbing out today’s sprawling, car-centric planning with electric vehicles is a desirable vision is its own question, especially given the myriad ethical and logistical issues up and down the EV supply chain. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, "Car Companies Have Been Knowingly Screwing the Planet for Half a Century," 28 Oct. 2020 The company also owns Ring, whose smart doorbells have had myriad security issues and have been widely criticized for bringing unprecedented surveillance to traditionally semi-private spaces. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, "Amazon's Latest Gimmicks Are Pushing the Limits of Privacy," 11 Oct. 2020 Thomas has had myriad issues throughout the first month of his rookie year, but the one that could give him big problems against Dallas' pass rush, specifically Aldon Smith, is his tendency to overset. John Owning, Dallas News, "Film room: 3 bold predictions for Cowboys-Giants, including bounce-back weeks for multiple big names," 8 Oct. 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

15 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Myriad.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/myriad. Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

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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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Comments on myriad

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