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 This dusty hue is strong enough to make a statement, but subtle enough to go with a myriad of other colors for easy designing. Kate Mcgregor, ELLE Decor, "6 Paint Colors We’re Seeing All Over Instagram," 11 May 2021 Your teenager may legally try one of the thousands of Belgian beers at the age of 16, and culinary delights range from casual Flemish fries with a myriad of sauces, to world-class chocolate, to a Michelin-star dinner. Liz Cantrell, Travel + Leisure, "7 Life-changing Trips for Teenagers, According to T+L's A-List Advisors," 5 May 2021 In 2000, the same year the dress was first presented in a myriad of colours on Cavalli’s runway, it was worn to the MTV VMAs by singer and actress Aaliyah. Eliza Huber, refinery29.com, "Paloma Elsesser Brought Back Aaliyah’s Dress From The 2000 VMAs," 13 Apr. 2021 The Broncos, at 9, eschewed the pair of talented quarterbacks remaining and the myriad of offensive weapons. Jori Epstein, USA TODAY, "‘Something scary’: Cowboys envision creative role for first-round NFL draft pick Micah Parsons," 30 Apr. 2021 Exxon says Houston is a prime location for the strategy, given the myriad of industrial manufacturing plants, oil refineries, and power plants in the area and the massive geologic storage potential nearby. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, "Daily on Energy, Sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute: Labor coalesces on grand bargain with Biden on infrastructure," 20 Apr. 2021 Still other residents get immense satisfaction from the semi-rural setting around the Village and seeing the deer meandering through, the squirrels and bunnies, the occasional fox, and the myriad of birds. Hermine Saunders, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Saunders: Youthful enthusiasm: History of Carroll Lutheran Village, part III," 11 Apr. 2021 Here, the marketing team is battling to make sense of the information collected from a myriad of channels, and processing data from multiple spreadsheets is time-consuming for the analytics team. Alexander Igelsböck, Forbes, "The Theory Of Evolution: Why Dashboards Aren't Extinct After All," 6 Apr. 2021 Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine has a camp and summer program guide to help make a choice among the myriad of possibilities a bit easier. Linda Gandee, cleveland, "Even in a pandemic, it’s time to think about summer camp," 22 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Americans are suffering in myriad ways right now, and many jobs, including in fast food, food and package delivery, and other low-paying fields, expose people to health hazards and exhausting working conditions. Jacob Silverman, The New Republic, "Low Wages and Crappy Jobs Gave Us the Labor “Shortage”," 11 May 2021 Sony hasn’t been able to keep up with demand due to a bunch of factors, many of which stem from the COVID-19 pandemic and the myriad ways that’s screwed up production and logistics. Erik Kain, Forbes, "When The New PS5 Pro Could Hit Shelves And What To Expect," 9 May 2021 The pandemic has posed countless challenges for restaurants in the New York metropolitan area, which have had to adapt and pivot in myriad ways to survive. Charles Passy, WSJ, "NYC Restaurants Score First Michelin Star Despite Covid-19 Restrictions," 6 May 2021 Goffman inventories the myriad ways our public presentations can be undermined. Los Angeles Times, "As we return to normal, a new plague: stage fright in the theater of daily life," 2 May 2021 His intrigue as a draft prospect stemmed from the myriad ways NFL teams could attempt to use him. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Baron Browning selected 105th by Denver Broncos in 2021 NFL Draft: Ohio State football," 1 May 2021 Politics and societal issues shape the world of work in myriad ways, including both the products that Basecamp builds and the experiences that people have while working there. Sarah Todd, Quartz, "A manager and an employee compare notes on Basecamp’s controversial new memo," 27 Apr. 2021 Across the state, colleges and universities have come up with myriad innovative and socially distanced ways to celebrate the accomplishments of college seniors. Devi Shastri, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Livestream, virtual, hybrid, even drive-thru: Wisconsin universities come up with numerous ways to conduct graduation," 22 Apr. 2021 Ultimately, there are myriad ways in which both individual scientists and organizations can take sustained actions that prioritize justice in science policy and hold others accountable to this goal. Brian S. Canter, Scientific American, "Science Policy Can't Be Simply about Science," 22 Apr. 2021

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

15 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Myriad.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/myriad. Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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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

Comments on myriad

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