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 Currently, droughts rank second in types of phenomena associated with billion-dollar weather disasters during the past three decades, with annual losses nearing $9 billion per year. Jordan Strickler, Forbes, "Drought Continues To Ravage Western U.S.," 20 Apr. 2021 There have been similar types of phenomena that have occurred during pregnancy. Norah O'donnell, CBS News, "Dr. Anthony Fauci on what the Johnson & Johnson vaccine reactions could mean for women," 14 Apr. 2021 This is not to say that the transcendent experience of miraculous phenomena has somehow fused with the 0’s and 1’s of modern science, or that the worldviews of believers and nonbelievers have merged. Alan Lightman, The Atlantic, "Of Miracles and Multiverses," 22 Mar. 2021 Sherman's first public foray in the realm of psychic phenomena turned out to be a resounding success, in part because of his promotional skills. Tom Dillard, Arkansas Online, "OPINION | TOM DILLARD: A prolific proponent of the paranormal," 6 Dec. 2020 Other photos on offer feature breathtaking shots of cosmic phenomena. Isis Davis-marks, Smithsonian Magazine, "You Could Own the First Space Selfie, Only Photo of Neil Armstrong on the Moon," 11 Nov. 2020 Until the early 20th century, fundamental physics—that is, the study of phenomena that can’t be explained by existing laws but require the discovery of new ones—was also the most important applied physics. Frank Wilczek, WSJ, "Beautiful, Impractical Physics," 29 Oct. 2020 The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics to three researchers for their work unraveling the mystery and majesty of one of the universe's strangest phenomena. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "Three Scientists Shaped How We Think About Black Holes. Now They Have a Nobel Prize.," 6 Oct. 2020 That work will build on years of studying biological and other scientific phenomena aboard the ISS, where the microgravity environment can give scientists a better fundamental understanding of how something works. Jackie Wattles, CNN, "SpaceX capsule with four NASA astronauts aboard docks with International Space Station," 24 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for phenomena

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The first known use of phenomena was in 1708

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Statistics for phenomena

Last Updated

9 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Phenomena.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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