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

Sixteen hours after losing the championship in the franchise’s final game in Oakland, Myers had to weave around questions about Warriors investor Mark Stevens, Raptors president Masai Ujiri and a plethora of potential roster transactions. Rusty Simmons,, "Warriors’ future is complicated and it’s GM Bob Myers’ job to figure it out," 14 June 2019 The Duke of Sussex has had an extremely busy week, which has included onstage performances and a plethora of secret royal engagements. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince Harry Couldn't Stop Smiling As He Attended a Garden Party Solo," 14 June 2019 This past week, Stephanie Hohmann’s selfie inception immediately caught my eye for a plethora of reasons: color, silhouette, patterns, and textures coming together in one harmonious scene. Kristen Mcnicholas, National Geographic, "Your best photos of the week, April 5, 2019," 5 Apr. 2019 The companies’ bags were priced similarly and the designs were close too, with their hard-shell covers, four-spinner wheels, and plethora of color options. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "When the “best” busts: the spectacular rise and fall of smart luggage startup Raden," 12 Dec. 2018 Lacking long-range planes and a plethora overseas bases, the People’s Liberation Army Navy instead built nine Dongdiao ships, the latest launching in February 2018. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Why a Chinese Spy Ship Is Hanging Out Next to Hawaii," 17 July 2018 Since 2011, when the study started, Bexar County hovered around 70 or 80 in the ranking, which is based on such factors as access to health care, obesity levels, high school graduation rates, teen pregnancy rates and a plethora of other measures. Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje Staff Writer, San Antonio Express-News, "Bexar County residents not very healthy now, but the future looks brighter," 14 Mar. 2018 And one of the main reasons for the plethora of crying GIFs on social media is the the unexpected fate of everyone's favorite resident adoptive father—Detective Jim Hopper. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "What Happens to Hopper at the End of Stranger Things Season 3?," 5 July 2019 But the staff and a new council will have to figure out how to tackle the plethora of materials that businesses discard — and determine how heavily the city should regulate recycling. Hayat Norimine, Dallas News, "Dallas could mandate recycling for businesses to cut down on waste," 1 July 2019

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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Statistics for plethora

Last Updated

23 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for plethora

The first known use of plethora was in 1541

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More Definitions for plethora



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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More from Merriam-Webster on plethora

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for plethora

Spanish Central: Translation of plethora

Nglish: Translation of plethora for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of plethora for Arabic Speakers

Comments on plethora

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


something desired as essential

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