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

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 Researchers will use the lab to probe quantum phenomena that would be impossible to observe on Earth. Elizabeth Gibney, Scientific American, "Universe’s Coolest Lab Set to Open Quantum World," 9 May 2018 Or does science instead aim to save the observable phenomena without necessarily having to tell us a true story, as some antirealists would contend instead? Philip Ball, WIRED, "Questioning Truth, Reality, and the Role of Scientific Progress," 2 June 2018 The incidence of relatively rare natural phenomena was also noted. James Rogers, Fox News, "UFO mysteries unraveled: How the ‘real-life X-Files’ emerged from a top secret UK project," 10 May 2018 Low-cost competition is not a new phenomena, even on long international flights. New York Times, "Paris Beckons as a Fare War Turns Europe Into a Bargain," 2 July 2018 An open question is how the heaviest nuclei created in astrophysical phenomena decay. Scientific American, "Readers Respond to the March 2018 Issue," 13 Mar. 2018 Some online random number generators rely on algorithms, which means their output is, in principle, predictable; others depend on random physical phenomena. Sophia Chen, Science | AAAS, "Why are countries creating public random number generators?," 28 June 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

26 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for phenomena

The first known use of phenomena was in 1708

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not any or not one

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