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

Typhoons are the same weather phenomena as hurricanes; the only difference between them is the location where the storm occurs. Molly Rubin, Quartz, "Hurricane vocabulary: The difference between a typhoon, a cyclone, and a tropical storm," 12 July 2019 In Drive-Thru Dreams, Adam Chandler explores that most American of phenomena, fast food, delving into its long, winding history and its deep roots in American culture. Tyler Aquilina,, "7 amazing, mouth-watering new food memoirs for summer reading (and cookout inspiration)," 11 July 2019 At nightfall, view the moon, planets, and other space phenomena through public telescopes. National Geographic, "Electrifying places to visit if you love science," 17 June 2019 The downward trajectory can be explained by several simultaneous phenomena, not all of them cheerful. The Economist, "Black men in America are living almost as long as white men," 14 June 2019 By day, navigators use the ultimate dynamic phenomena of ocean swells—not local waves but slow undulations created by overarching trade winds or distant geography. Damion Searls, Harper's magazine, "The Tide-Beating Heart of Earth," 10 May 2019 Ironically, dinoflagellates are also responsible for one of nature’s nastiest phenomena—red tides. The Economist, "The bioluminescence people find so attractive is a defence mechanism," 21 June 2019 As far as natural phenomena go, blue diamonds are among the world's most treasured. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Hope Diamond Formed At The Bottom of The Ocean," 2 Aug. 2018 Meteorologist Jon Loufman will discuss weather phenomena and what to expect this summer, from 7-8 p.m. June 18. Carol Kovach,, "‘Cahoon in June’ festivities mark 50 years in Bay Village: West Shore Chatter," 11 June 2019

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

18 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for phenomena

The first known use of phenomena was in 1708

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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).


to form ideas or theories about something

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