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

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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

Social networks spread discord and hate across our politics, a myriad of addictive devices hook us in and then drive us apart, and new technologies like artificial intelligence, automation and robotics could mean vast changes across our workplace. Kara Swisher, Recode, "Turn and face the change: Recode and Vox.com are partnering," 1 Nov. 2018 Like every year, pop culture offers a myriad of costume choices for Halloween. Bethonie Butler, The Seattle Times, "8 last-minute pop-culture Halloween costumes for 2018," 29 Oct. 2018 For women of color, who face a myriad of health care disparities from access to racial bias perpetuated by stereotypes, the combination has proved life-threatening. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Black Women Are Dying During Childbirth. Sen. Kamala Harris Is Working to Change That.," 23 Aug. 2018 October 2017-May 2018: Shawn Mendes Shawn and Hailey have given a myriad of different answers about their relationship. Sam Tornow, Billboard, "A Timeline of Hailey Baldwin's Dating History," 11 July 2018 Given the Senators' myriad of issues (see below), the two-time Norris Trophy winner could be ready for some new surroundings. Michael Blinn, SI.com, "Five NHL Storylines to Watch This Summer," 26 June 2018 Prison Break,’ one of the myriad television shows in the Fox library. Joe Flint, WSJ, "Mickey Mouse, Meet Homer and the ‘Avatar’ Crew: Fox Assets Would Bolster Disney’s Franchises," 21 July 2018 In April, Zuckerberg testified before Congress over two days on a myriad of problems within his company, from Russian agents using the platform to influence the US elections to a lack of data protections. Timothy Mclaughlin, WIRED, "How Facebook’s Rise Fueled Chaos and Confusion in Myanmar," 6 July 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Sometimes an alliance or a relationship can fall apart because of myriad reasons too small to notice, or maybe even for no real reason at all. Mike Finger, San Antonio Express-News, "In Spurs’ saga, explanations remain elusive," 4 July 2018 Ann Rosenberg, a grief counselor and licensed clinical social worker in New York City, told Fox News there are myriad reasons why a survivor would want to drag a family member’s name through the proverbial funereal mud. Andrew O'reilly, Fox News, "Survivors penning 'revenge obituaries' to settle scores with the departed," 7 June 2018 However, for myriad reasons, Syfy is locked in a strategy focused on traditional OTA (over-the-air) viewing—a mismatch with the genre's audience. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "The Expanse has officially been saved," 29 May 2018 Each location has a different menu, but all offer myriad options for every eater, from picky to gourmand. Leah Bhabha, Vogue, "How to Spend a Fall Weekend on the North Shore of Massachusetts," 15 Oct. 2018 But that's just the start; TrueDepth can be used for myriad other things once third-party app developers support it. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Apple’s September 12, 2018 event: What we expect to be “gathering round” for," 9 Sep. 2018 With an ever-evolving threat, the work demands a team in place to anticipate and confront the myriad challenges. Catherine Herridge, Fox News, "Senior NSA official says tech is wondrous -- and risky in a world of cyberspace foes," 24 Mar. 2018 Download one of the myriad audio tour options and explore. Ramsay Short, Condé Nast Traveler, "24 Best Things to Do in London," 3 Mar. 2018 And what the Mariners have now is a team posing as a contender, certainly not a disaster, certainly containing many strong elements, but needing myriad things to break their way in the rotation to add the necessary 10 or more victories from 2017. Larry Stone, The Seattle Times, "Many top free-agent pitchers are there for the taking — and the Mariners should sign one," 12 Feb. 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

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

Adjective

see myriad entry 1

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Statistics for myriad

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

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)

: 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

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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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