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.

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

Puerto Rico As cleanup following the 2017 storms continues, the island is inviting tourists to take advantage of a myriad of savings. Melanie Reffes, USA TODAY, "Summer's on sale at luxurious Caribbean resorts," 15 May 2018 In his Sunday column, John Myers takes a quick look at the myriad of election laws that make the tabulation of votes stretch out a week or more. Christina Bellantoni, latimes.com, "The California primary is tomorrow. Get ready for a long night (or week!)," 4 June 2018 Art lovers can enjoy some wonderful viewing experiences at a myriad of destinations throughout the West Valley. Oriana Parker, azcentral, "Where to see art in the West Valley," 21 Apr. 2018 Since then, the couple has cheered each other on at a myriad of races — sometimes dressing in T-Rex, pink flamingo, or penguin costumes to lighten the mood. Laney Ruckstuhl, BostonGlobe.com, "This couple ran the Boston Marathon – and then said ‘I do’," 17 Apr. 2018 Ten years before he had wowed with a many-layered and much celebrated collection into which myriad references could be read. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Vogue Runway Did a Ten-Year Fashion Challenge: Check Out the Results Here," 30 Jan. 2019 Some obvious players who could be rested include tailback Chris Carson, who had 27 carries against the Chiefs, and receiver Doug Baldwin, who has been nursing a myriad injuries all season. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "Seahawks ‘are working’ to keep Frank Clark, and more takeaways from Pete Carroll," 24 Dec. 2018 With its myriad systems and bonkers controls, accomplishing even the most basic of tasks in game requires concerted self-training. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "If You Can't Beat It, Code It," 17 Dec. 2018 Mission-style architecture drew inspiration from the myriad churches built by Spanish settlers in California, and could be spotted by their use of arches and bell towers. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, "What Is Spanish Colonial Design? Everything To Know About California's Popular Style," 13 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Gifted people are attracted to certain locations for myriad reasons. WSJ, "Explaining the U.S. Urban Housing Shortages," 16 Jan. 2019 In recent years, as the women’s mosque concept has seeped into America, critics have responded in myriad ways. Asma Uddin, Teen Vogue, "On Muslim Women's Day, Women-Only Mosques Are About Much More Than Prayer," 27 Mar. 2019 These days, there are myriad budget apps on the market—many of which are free, and all of which promise to make saving money a cinch. Lindsey Lanquist, SELF, "15 Budget Apps That Are Basically a Financial Adviser in Your Phone," 14 May 2018 Campers can participate in myriad activities at different parks throughout Miami-Dade County and Broward counties. Caitlin Granfield, miamiherald, "Your child will never be bored at these camps | Miami Herald," 6 Apr. 2018 Read more: How to Stop Kim Jong Un This is important as North Korean embassies abroad operate as revenue-generating hubs for myriad illicit activities. Charlie Campbell / Beijing, Time, "It's Time to Give the Trump Administration Some Credit for North Korea Progress," 7 Mar. 2018 Jurors heard about the myriad ways Mr. Guzmán smuggled drugs through Mexico and into the U. S.—by underground tunnel, car, truck, plane, ship and train. Katie Honan, WSJ, "U.S. Jury Convicts Mexican Drug Lord ‘El Chapo’ After Three-Month Trial," 12 Feb. 2019 Among the myriad ways to shave down the cost of airfare, some websites recommend traveling exclusively on one-way tickets, which can often be cheaper than round-trip airfare. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Lufthansa Is Suing a Man For Missing a Connecting Flight," 12 Feb. 2019 The story is that Pennsylvania Democrats canoodled with union leaders despite myriad signs of corruption. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Philadelphia’s Union Indictments," 30 Jan. 2019

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

23 Apr 2019

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)

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

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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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