pleth·​o·​ra | \ˈple-thə-rə \

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 , 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

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle traveled to Sussex today, where they were greeted by a plethora of royal fans throughout the day. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Cutest Moments with Kids During Their Sussex Visit," 3 Oct. 2018 For the July 22 event, Sasha hit the red carpet in a Preen by Thornton Bregazzi dress and a metallic makeup look courtesy of Vincent Oquendo, who shared the look on Instagram with a plethora of star emojis. Karina Hoshikawa, Teen Vogue, "Sasha Lane Wears Metallic Eye Makeup to Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival," 23 July 2018 Offset closes down the track surrounded by a plethora of exotic cars stored in the undisclosed location's garage; he's joined by Rich The Kid prior to culminating his journey with a courageous escape from the insane asylum. Michael Saponara, Billboard, "Rich The Kid Nearly Goes Insane in New 'Lost It' Video Featuring Quavo & Offset," 10 July 2018 But meanwhile the dream of changing the economic laws of the internet to bring it closer to its decentralised roots is being vigorously pursued by a plethora of blockchain startups and activists. The Economist, "More knock-on than networkThe story of the internet is all about layers," 28 June 2018 And even pet tech costs took a leap, as evidenced by the plethora of activity trackers, smart feeders, and video monitors on the market. Sunset, "Americans Are Spending More on Pets Than Ever Before," 22 Jan. 2018 Instagram comic Shiggy kicked things off with #DoTheShiggy, hitting the now-signature dance moves last month (June 29), and a plethora of celebrities have since followed suit. Michael Saponara, Billboard, "6ix9ine, Trippie Redd, N.O.R.E., Lil Jon & More Join Drake's 'In My Feelings' Challenge," 12 July 2018 But Outdoor Voices clearly doesn't plan on stopping there if its plethora of recent launches is any indicator. Alyssa Coscarelli,, "This Was A Long-Time Coming: Outdoor Voices' First-Ever Swim Is (Almost) Here," 25 June 2018 The two levels sleep between two to four people and a plethora of windows make the space feel airy and modern. Megan Barber, Curbed, "8 A-frames you can rent right now," 1 June 2018

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

12 Nov 2018

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

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


pleth·​o·​ra | \ˈpleth-ə-rə \

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 , ple-​ , -​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

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by force of circumstances

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