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

Definition of phenomena


Keep scrolling for more

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 These can take the form of sound waves, shock waves or slower-moving phenomena called atmospheric gravity waves. The Economist, "Planetary monitoring A plan to turn the atmosphere into one, enormous sensor," 11 June 2020 But the two phenomena are linked, said Jesse Keenan, a social scientist at Tulane University who studies the intersection of climate change and urban development. Tim Mcdonnell, Quartz, "How new flood risk maps could undermine marginalized neighborhoods," 5 July 2020 Denialist phenomena are many and varied, but the story behind them is, ultimately, quite simple. Adrian Bardon, Scientific American, "Coronavirus Responses Highlight How Humans Have Evolved to Dismiss Facts That Don’t Fit Their Worldview," 26 June 2020 Particles can display many interesting and surprising phenomena. Quanta Magazine, "Why Gravity Is Not Like the Other Forces," 15 June 2020 Unexpected bonds form as the couples let loose and enjoy the isolation, but events take an ominous turn as increasingly strange environmental phenomena begin to warp their peaceful evening. Clark Collis,, "The Beach House trailer teases a body horror nightmare," 26 June 2020 On Tuesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee made the unusual request to ask the Pentagon for a detailed, unclassified report on unidentified aerial phenomena that some believe may not be of this world. Fox News, "Classified UFO briefings may have left senators 'disturbed,' expert says," 24 June 2020 What these phenomena have in common is that they are all experienced retrospectively or prospectively, not in real time. Popular Science, "Your kids aren’t growing up too quickly, but your brain sure thinks they are," 20 June 2020 Such phenomena are typically seen as irrelevant by astrophysicists and high-energy physicists studying dark matter. Daniel Garisto, Scientific American, "Direct Proof of Dark Matter May Lurk at Low-Energy Frontiers," 9 June 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of phenomena

1708, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about phenomena

Time Traveler for phenomena

Time Traveler

The first known use of phenomena was in 1708

See more words from the same year

Statistics for phenomena

Last Updated

31 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Phenomena.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

July 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • papercraft sunset
  • Which is a synonym of mien?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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