phe·​nom·​e·​na fi-ˈnä-mə-nə How to pronounce phenomena (audio)
plural phenomenas
Can phenomena be used as a singular?: Usage Guide

Phenomena has been in occasional use as a singular since the early 18th century, as has the plural phenomenas. Our evidence shows that singular phenomena is primarily a speech form used by poets, critics, and professors, among others, but one that sometimes turns up in edited prose.

Although it seemed like a fad a few years ago, Twitter has evolved into a phenomena with more than 200 million users … Myron P. Medcalf

It is etymologically no more irregular than stamina and agenda, but it has nowhere near the frequency of use that they have, and while they are standard, phenomena is still rather borderline.

Examples of phenomena in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web To have not known the cause of the phenomena would have been very disconcerting. Bill Bowden,, 18 Feb. 2024 The Lofoten Islands, Norway The northern lights are one of the world’s most beautiful natural phenomena, but seeing it with your own eyes is all down to timing and a pinch of good luck. Laura Hampson, Condé Nast Traveler, 14 Feb. 2024 The phenomena, whether naturally occurring or human-triggered, accounts for an average of 25 to 30 deaths across the country annually, the Avalanche Center says. Amaris Encinas, USA TODAY, 20 Jan. 2024 Like many mass social phenomena, widespread panic comes in waves and can often affect communities and individuals in surprising ways. Chris Wheatley, Longreads, 18 Jan. 2024 To do so, meteorologists have closely monitored sea surface temperatures in the South Pacific and the phenomena known as El Niño and La Ninã. Joe Mathews, The Mercury News, 10 Feb. 2024 For the past few months, across the United States, people have been dealing with record-breaking cold temperatures, unusually low snowfall, or dramatic precipitation—phenomena that have become more common recently, as the traditional rhythms of the season have been in flux. Heather Hansman, The Atlantic, 8 Feb. 2024 The show includes pop culture phenomena—such as music, fashion, toys, video games and social media—alongside contemporary works and new commissions by more than 50 artists. Sonja Anderson, Smithsonian Magazine, 2 Feb. 2024 The committee that determined the new high temperature is also looking at other weather phenomena, like whether or not Tropical Cyclone Freddy broke a record in 2023 for longest tropical cyclone. Caitlin O'Kane, CBS News, 30 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'phenomena.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1708, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of phenomena was in 1708

Dictionary Entries Near phenomena

Cite this Entry

“Phenomena.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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