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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web And here's your reward: Right now Netflix has a plethora of movies, especially original romantic comedies, that are actually really great. Whitney Perry, Glamour, "16 Best Romantic Movies on Netflix You’ll Fall in Love With," 10 Nov. 2020 One game would see the team create a plethora of scoring chances, while the next game was bereft of them. Alex Vejar, The Salt Lake Tribune, "RSL just ended the most chaotic season in franchise history — but they still expected to make the playoffs.," 10 Nov. 2020 In addition to a plethora of restaurants in the county, there are yearly events such as the Jamaican Jerk Festival and the Taste the Islands Experience. Andrew Boryga,, "Kamala Harris brings hope and pride to South Florida’s Jamaican community," 7 Nov. 2020 Budget-conscious people and casual gamers will probably gravitate toward the $300 Xbox Series S, which runs games at a lower resolution and can play a plethora of older Xbox titles available for a low cost. Mike Isaac, New York Times, "PlayStation 5 Review: Sony’s New Console Is an Entertaining Behemoth," 6 Nov. 2020 And Kylen Granson — who had a plethora of drops a week prior — caught it, and fought for the yardage. Sam Blum, Dallas News, "SMU rebounds from poor offensive showing, scores at will in 51-37 win over Navy," 1 Nov. 2020 All-American and has a plethora of accolades through USA Basketball. Alexa Philippou,, "UConn women sweep Big East preseason awards: Huskies come in first in poll, Christyn Williams player of the year, Paige Bueckers top freshman," 29 Oct. 2020 Perpetual connectivity has led to a plethora of early social media apps that are designed to addict and distract us. Padmasree Warrior, Fortune, "Stop doomscrolling on social media and read a book," 25 Oct. 2020 Contrary to a plethora of recent reports, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are due to return to the United Kingdom before 2021. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry Are Planning to Return to the U.K. Before 2021," 10 Oct. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about plethora

Time Traveler for plethora

Time Traveler

The first known use of plethora was in 1541

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about plethora

Statistics for plethora

Last Updated

15 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Plethora.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!