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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Given the high stakes and myriad variables, Zipadelli, the Stewart-Haas competition director, hopes drivers will show restraint - at least at the outset. Liz Clarke, Anchorage Daily News, "NASCAR ready to fire up its engines Sunday, hoping to lead sports’ return from quarantine," 16 May 2020 Sharon Basso, vice president of student affairs, and her staff have assembled an Excel document with nearly 25 tabs laying out myriad details. Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times, "How coronavirus could change college life: Outdoor classes, small group dorms, takeout dining," 30 Apr. 2020 Beshear issued orders in recent weeks that shuttered myriad businesses, halted elective surgeries and instituted other restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Morgan Watkins, The Courier-Journal, "Gov. Andy Beshear: Reopening Kentucky will require sustained decline in COVID-19 cases," 17 Apr. 2020 But such an order would have touched off myriad evasion efforts in state and local governments, just as Brown v. Board triggered decades of massive resistance to integration. John Fabian Witt, The New Republic, "How the Republican Party Took Over the Supreme Court," 7 Apr. 2020 This three-day, family-friendly festival is a celebration of myriad of flavors in craft brew and also the many flavors of Grapevine. Steven Lindsey, Dallas News, "The art of communities," 2 Apr. 2020 The app tests your knowledge of a myriad of subjects ranging from Harry Potter trivia to history. Sarah Midkiff, refinery29.com, "Games To Play Online With Your Friends While We’re All Stuck At Home," 24 Mar. 2020 His folks might be hoarders, drinkers, disruptive, ill, abusive, night-shift workers or – any combination of a myriad of possibilities. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, "Puppy’s pee pushes parent out of bed," 26 Feb. 2020 His folks might be hoarders, drinkers, disruptive, ill, abusive, night-shift workers or -- any combination of a myriad of possibilities. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, "Ask Amy: Couple at odds over sleeping with dog that pees the bed," 26 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The reasons were myriad and complicated, but one simple one is this: Some viewers decided that watching games at home was either more pleasurable or more convenient. Mike Finger, ExpressNews.com, "Mike Finger: Time for sports to embrace the unthinkable," 16 May 2020 But a year-and-a-half of inconsistent finishes from the team ensued, along with a myriad injuries that saw Curry manage seven different drivers in 2010 and eight in 2011. Nathan Brown, Indianapolis Star, "Larry Curry, who had rollercoaster IndyCar career as team engineer and manager, dies at 68," 9 May 2020 In conversations with his staff, and almost daily with the Pac-12 athletic directors and officials, Barnes says scenarios are broad because of the myriad unknowns. oregonlive, "Oregon State athletic director Scott Barnes: There will be college football, and we will not cut sports in 2020-21," 8 May 2020 Those losses were mainly driven by declines in marks of the on-paper value of their myriad investments. Telis Demos, WSJ, "Private-Equity Numbers Aren’t as Ugly as They Appear," 5 May 2020 Biden has reiterated on multiple occasions that his running mate will be a woman, and myriad names have circulated as possible options, including former rivals Sens. Rebecca Morin, USA TODAY, "Meet the team who will help Joe Biden pick his vice presidential running mate," 30 Apr. 2020 But withdrawing the money to get reimbursed for health care costs has become increasingly onerous, some workers say, with myriad bureaucratic hoops to jump through. Heather Knight, SFChronicle.com, "SF will return $138 million of health care funds to help jobless weather coronavirus crisis," 28 Apr. 2020 Covid-19 has toppled a branching chain of dominoes that will affect health and survival in myriad ways. Vinay Prasad, STAT, "Scientists who express different views on Covid-19 should be heard, not demonized," 27 Apr. 2020 Logan's never been shy about wearing myriad influences on his sleeves at once, and City of Angels does steal from the best. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "What to stream (and skip) on HBO and Apple TV+ this weekend," 24 Apr. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about myriad

Time Traveler for myriad

Time Traveler

The first known use of myriad was in 1555

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about myriad

Statistics for myriad

Last Updated

26 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Myriad.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/myriad. Accessed 28 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on myriad

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for myriad

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with myriad

Spanish Central: Translation of myriad

Nglish: Translation of myriad for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of myriad for Arabic Speakers

Comments on myriad

What made you want to look up myriad? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Obscure Shapes

  • a pile of three dimensional shapes in green
  • Something that is ooid is shaped like:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!