phe·​nom·​e·​na | \fi-ˈnä-mə-nə, -ˌnä\
plural phenomenas

Definition of phenomena 


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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

One of the most intriguing phenomena is the existence of persistent, organized structures within a violent, chaotic flow environment. Lee Phillips, Ars Technica, "Turbulence, the oldest unsolved problem in physics," 10 Oct. 2018 Dark matter and dark energy are elusive, invisible phenomena scientists have long been hunting. Samantha Mathewson,, "Mysterious Milky Way Signal Comes from the Past, Not Dark Matter," 13 Mar. 2018 After all, as the origin of the theory itself makes clear, quantum phenomena can lie just under our noses. Tim Folger, Discover Magazine, "How Quantum Mechanics Lets Us See, Smell and Touch," 24 Oct. 2018 With the ever-increasing consolidation of urban radio, program directors appear increasingly wary to break below-the-radar local phenomena. Jeff Weiss,, "How Instagram and YouTube help underground hip-hop artists and tastemakers find huge audiences," 4 July 2018 In 15 years, the Arctic has experienced shrinking sea ice, melting permafrost, the general decimation of its habitat and other phenomena, captured in a video that compiles thousand of NASA satellite images. Dino Grandoni, Washington Post, "The Energy 202: Inside the Trump team's push to stop its Park Service board from quitting," 25 Apr. 2018 Frustratingly, other phenomena mimic them—another star passing in front of the star, for instance, or instrumental effects from Kepler itself, adding up in just the right way. Sarah Scoles, WIRED, "The Case of the Evaporating Exoplanets," 12 Apr. 2018 Saturday’s lineup featured Future Con events on two more evergreen cultural phenomena: Harry Potter and Star Wars. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian, "The Real Science Behind Your Favorite Nerd Culture at Awesome Con," 5 Apr. 2018 Goldstein’s prescient work, which borrowed elements of image and film, could have predicted the internet era: paintings of natural and cinematic phenomena taken out of context, bits of film spliced into endless loops. Carolina A. Miranda,, "Datebook: Shots of old Route 66, dreamlike paintings and garments fashioned from paper," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'phenomena.' 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 phenomena

1708, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for phenomena

Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for phenomena

The first known use of phenomena was in 1708

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More from Merriam-Webster on phenomena

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with phenomena

Nglish: Translation of phenomena for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of phenomena for Arabic Speakers

Comments on phenomena

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the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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