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

If President Donald Trump is around, critics will enumerate his myriad and sometimes serious faults and then outdo him. Jay Ambrose, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Brett Kavanaugh an excellent Supreme Court pick," 11 July 2018 Other chains, like Payless shoes, Sears and Radio Shack, have shed myriad stores. Ron Grossman, chicagotribune.com, "Even Socrates may have mourned the closing of Toys R Us," 26 Mar. 2018 Students and others submit tips about myriad topics, not just threats. Jim Ryan, OregonLive.com, "Number of Oregon school threats appears to rise after Florida shooting, mirroring national trend," 7 Mar. 2018 During a meandering 30-minute speech, Kaisch addressed myriad topics, including his political future, the potential automation has to disrupt traditional work, teen drug use and even his experiences ordering pizza at the airport. Seth A. Richardson, cleveland.com, "Mike DeWine has huge cash advantage in Ohio governor's race; Richard Cordray raises $2 million," 31 Jan. 2018 The multifaceted show offers a myriad of things to do, and daily tickets start at $20, so art lovers don’t have to spend big to enjoy what the show has to offer. Adam Lukach, RedEye Chicago, "5 things to do in Chicago this weekend," 19 Sep. 2017 Regardless of the project’s myriad benefits, the council majority denied the application without regard for sound reasoning, solid public policy or even basic civil discourse. Jeffrey Harlan, latimes.com, "Costa Mesa City Council majority got it wrong by denying Plant project," 10 July 2018 Of course, there are myriad accessible campgrounds, lodges, and visitor centers for your downtime, too. Samantha Lefave, Outside Online, "The Best National Parks for Those with Disabilities," 1 July 2018 The glut of apartment and condo buildings, the gleaming BB&T Ballpark with its skyline views and the myriad activities at Romare Bearden Park. Joseph Person, charlotteobserver, "Has Cam Newton changed? Panthers QBs coach returns to Charlotte to find he has," 26 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The family’s fortune, earned through Purdue, has been donated to myriad institutions. Susan Dunne, courant.com, "Gallery Owner Says Opioid Exhibit, Protest At Purdue Just The Beginning Of 'Spoon Movement'," 26 June 2018 Parents do this in myriad ways — chip in on tuition, help out after college, or contribute to a down payment on a home. Charlotte Cowles, The Cut, "I’m 34 and My Parents Still Give Me a Clothing Allowance," 15 June 2018 Brazil has received tens of thousands of those migrants, many of whom arrive at the border malnourished and with myriad health problems. Sarah Dilorenzo, The Seattle Times, "US VP to focus on Venezuela in 3rd trip to Latin America," 25 June 2018 Any solution to America’s myriad immigration problems has to start with the recognition that the nativism of many voters is the single biggest hurdle to crafting humane policies. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Laura Bush condemns Trump’s family separation policy, but will the GOP listen?," 18 June 2018 Drinking alcohol can lead to myriad health problems, Clark said, including cancer, hypertension, stroke and liver failure. Kate Thayer, chicagotribune.com, "'Binge drinking has become completely normalized': Has boozy mom culture gone too far?," 18 Apr. 2018 One of the myriad Syrian opposition groups is the most probable suspect, Suchkov said. Author: Liz Sly, Anchorage Daily News, "Who is attacking Russia’s bases in Syria? A new mystery emerges in the war.," 10 Jan. 2018 Rookie Jordan Lasley, 21, after much debate within himself, eventually picked Jordan, citing his myriad accomplishments on the court. Katherine Fominykh, baltimoresun.com, "Ravens weigh in on the great debate: Who's the GOAT? LeBron James or Michael Jordan," 2 July 2018 So with myriad tools for tracking time in our pockets, what’s making friend dates so hard to pin down? Elizabeth Kiefer, Glamour, "A Cancellation Plague Is Upon Us—and It's Ruining Our Female Friendships," 13 July 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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Last Updated

16 Sep 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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Comments on myriad

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