pleth·​o·​ra | \ ˈple-thə-rə How to pronounce plethora (audio) \

Definition of plethora

1 : a bodily condition characterized by an excess of blood and marked by turgescence and a florid complexion
2 : abundance, profusion … Grand Cayman offers a plethora of bustling restaurants, ritzy resorts and comfortable condos …— Susanne Cummings … in a world whose credibility is threatened by the meaningless plethora of material goods it goes on producing.— W. Roy Niblett

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Other Words from plethora

plethoric \ plə-​ˈthȯr-​ik How to pronounce plethoric (audio) , ple-​ , -​ˈthär-​ ; ˈple-​thə-​rik \ adjective

Did You Know?

Plethora comes from a similar Greek word meaning "fullness." It was first used in English in the 16th century to describe a supposed medical condition marked by an excess volume of blood causing swelling and a reddish complexion. Later, the medical use of "plethora" was extended to indicate related medical conditions (such as an excess volume of bodily fluid or the red-skinned appearance of some newborns). These days, however, "plethora" is more often used in a general, non-medical sense, with the meaning "excess" or "abundance."

Examples of plethora in a Sentence

There has been a plethora of plays in recent years whose claim to modernity is based on indicated rather than felt emotion. — Arthur Miller, Harper's, March 1999 The plethora of short-lived ceasefires in the Balkans and the Caucasus constitute proof that we are no longer in a world where the old rules of state warfare apply. — Robert D. Kaplan, Atlantic, February 1994 … served at the long plank table in the banquet hut, amid a plethora of toasts to progress, amity, and the overthrow of imperialism—the meal passed in a blur. — John Updike, Trust Me, (1962) 1987 In their view, there are the very few hard-pressed good guys losing the landscape to a plethora of bad guys. — Carol Bly, Letters from the Country, 1981 A plethora of books have been written on the subject. a biology textbook that is helpfully illustrated with a plethora of excellent illustrations
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Recent Examples on the Web Fame and fortune can bring a plethora of opportunities and resources but as Chicago native Derrick Rose alluded to during a panel discussion earlier in the week, . Los Angeles Times, "Column: NBA has obstacles to hurdle with mental health awareness," 15 Feb. 2020 From tennis star to fashion designer, Serena wears a plethora of (designer) hats. Gianluca Russo, Teen Vogue, "Serena Williams Shows New York Fashion Week 2020 Collection," 14 Feb. 2020 However, that task may prove difficult due to a plethora of other, newer grocery stores within a 5-mile radius of the two Randalls, including three different H-E-B grocery stores, a Walmart Super Center and a Whole Foods. Jeff Forward, Houston Chronicle, "2 Randalls in Woodlands to close permanently Saturday night," 12 Feb. 2020 The final quarter consisted of a plethora of fouls that slowed the action. Matthew Glenesk, Indianapolis Star, "IHSAA girls basketball sectional finals roundup: See which teams hoisted a trophy," 9 Feb. 2020 The champion holds a plethora of light heavyweight records, which continue to rapidly expand. Nolan King, MMA Junkie, "UFC 247 results: Jon Jones edges Dominick Reyes in back-and-forth battle to retain title," 9 Feb. 2020 The prime historic downtown location, near Willamette River and Riverview Park, offers easy access to walking and biking trails, farmers markets as well as a plethora of wineries in Polk County. oregonlive, "New Independence Hotel is the perfect place for a Valentine’s getaway: Gerry Frank’s picks," 8 Feb. 2020 Although plenty of weather apps offer Android widgets, 1Weather stands out for its stylish look, detailed readouts, and plethora of customization options. David Nield, Popular Science, "Eleven essential widgets for your Android home screen," 4 Feb. 2020 Such stability was lost with the rise of a more assertive Germany from 1890 and then in the maelstrom of World War I. In the war’s aftermath, a plethora of new states emerged, creating tensions that the League of Nations struggled to contain. Brendan Simms, WSJ, "‘Brexit in History’ Review: Let’s Not Get Together," 30 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'plethora.' 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 plethora

1541, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for plethora

Medieval Latin, from Greek plēthōra, literally, fullness, from plēthein to be full — more at full

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Time Traveler for plethora

Time Traveler

The first known use of plethora was in 1541

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Last Updated

19 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Plethora.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for plethora


How to pronounce plethora (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of plethora

formal : a very large amount or number : an amount that is much greater than what is necessary


pleth·​o·​ra | \ ˈpleth-ə-rə How to pronounce plethora (audio) \

Medical Definition of plethora

: a bodily condition characterized by an excess of blood and marked by turgescence and a reddish complexion

Other Words from plethora

plethoric \ plə-​ˈthȯr-​ik How to pronounce plethoric (audio) , ple-​ How to pronounce plethoric (audio) , -​ˈthär-​; ˈpleth-​ə-​rik \ adjective

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