phe·​nom·​e·​na | \ fi-ˈnä-mə-nə How to pronounce phenomena (audio) , -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

Meanwhile, there's plenty of meteor showers and other interesting phenomena to see in the sky in 2019. Eleanor Hildebrandt, Popular Mechanics, "It's Not Too Early to Start Thinking About the July 2019 Solar Eclipse," 7 Jan. 2019 Inexplicable phenomena at the camp soon blur the lines between fantasy and reality. Sara Aridi, New York Times, "What’s on TV Tuesday: ‘A Quiet Place’ and ‘The Endless’," 26 June 2018 As the team of doctors speculated in their JAMA report, the sounds may be merely associated with the harmful phenomena, not the cause of injuries. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "More Americans in China say they’re victims of mysterious health attacks," 7 June 2018 They are only observed via microscopic quantum phenomena, but once this happens, wavefunction interference then becomes apparent. Chris Ciaccia, Fox News, "NASA has created the coldest spot ever," 9 Aug. 2018 But new technologies, working together synergistically, have brought quantum phenomena closer to us than ever before. Frank Wilczek, WSJ, "The Second Quantum Revolution," 18 Oct. 2018 Many things in warfare, naturally, are often a complex byproduct of a range of more subjectively determined factors – impacted by concepts, personalities, individual psychology, historical nuances and larger sociological phenomena. Kris Osborn, Fox News, "Pentagon makes massive new AI push for tanks, ships, weapons, drones and networks," 19 July 2018 Cross-sectional studies find correlations between different phenomena at one point in time. Vanessa Schipani, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Is there a link between media violence and mass shootings?," 8 Mar. 2018 Florence's temporary weakening this morning can be attributed to a phenomena known as eye wall replacement. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Florence Makes Landfall, Hundreds Already Need Evacuation," 14 Sep. 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

11 Apr 2019

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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

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


an enemy or opponent

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