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

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun From vast world-building to creating the supernatural, VFX supervisors from each show detail a myriad of undertakings. Daron James, Los Angeles Times, 3 Aug. 2022 In all studies, the benefit was enjoyed by those who drank both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee – again, suggesting the benefit is from the myriad of bioactive substances in coffee as opposed to caffeine. Dr. Michael Daignault, USA TODAY, 9 June 2022 Students can pick from a myriad of career paths including pet care, retail, food service, health care and more depending on their interests. Madeline Mitchell, The Enquirer, 24 Jan. 2022 Take, for example, the development of uncrewed air vehicles: As companies begin to plan and understand the technology behind them, teams should ensure people from a myriad of disciplines are able to participate in research and development. Nhut Ho, Forbes, 16 Sep. 2021 The Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion rang with a myriad of musical genres and styles on July 21 as Josh Groban performed on a stop of his summer Harmony Tour. Arkansas Online, 22 July 2022 She’s played with a myriad of people since and was the bassist for Courtney Love’s Hole. Lucia Gillot, SPIN, 7 July 2022 Distinctive fragrances with a sensual finish for both men and women, and there's something for everyone and every occasion with a myriad of blends donning fresh, floral, spicy and unadulterated rich notes. Felicity Carter, Forbes, 1 July 2022 Business leaders, hobbyists and brands start podcasts with a myriad of intentions. Ginni Saraswati, Rolling Stone, 23 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Everyone on that side of the family tutted or still tuts often, each in their own distinctive way, for myriad different reasons—even on special occasions. Claire-louise Bennett, The New Yorker, 14 July 2022 Conflict in Sri Lanka, an island about 900 miles off the coast of India, has been brewing for myriad reasons exacerbated by the pandemic, including a collapse in tourist dollars and recent tax cuts that minimized revenue. ABC News, 13 July 2022 There are myriad reasons many do not check the box. Roy S. Johnson | Rjohnson@al.com, al, 11 July 2022 There are myriad reasons the Roe v. Wade reversal will be dangerous and affect people's health in negative ways. Megan Decker, refinery29.com, 8 July 2022 There are myriad reasons for the surge in attendance, RSL officials say. Alex Vejar, The Salt Lake Tribune, 7 July 2022 There are myriad reasons for that success beyond American viewers liking or hating Trump enough to watch. David Zurawik, CNN, 18 June 2022 There are myriad reasons why the New York Yankees have been far and away the best club in the majors this season. Tony Blengino, Forbes, 17 June 2022 For myriad reasons, including mistakes by his team, his crew, himself and his competitors, with additional mechanical failures along the way, that bet didn’t hit. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, 4 June 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near myriad

myriacanthous

myriad

myriadfold

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Statistics for myriad

Last Updated

7 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Myriad.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/myriad. Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for myriad

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

More from Merriam-Webster on myriad

Nglish: Translation of myriad for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of myriad for Arabic Speakers

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