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

The year 2018 saw a plethora of true-story movies that were, incredibly, based on what happened IRL. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "13 Best Movies Based on True Stories of 2018," 7 Nov. 2018 The thrilling qualifying campaign saw a plethora of attacking talent on show as Gabriel Jesus scored seven, with Neymar and Paulinho both netting six each to establish a dominant 10 point lead over second place qualifiers Uruguay., "2018 FIFA World Cup Team Preview: Analysing Brazil's Chances at the Tournament," 3 June 2018 Sophie Skelton, who plays Claire's daughter Brianna Fraser in the series, also sent Balfe a sweet note along with a plethora of emojis. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Sam Heughan and the Rest of the Outlander Cast Wish Caitriona Balfe Luck at the Golden Globes," 6 Jan. 2019 Location: Portland, Oregon Price: $595,000 The northwest has a plethora of affordable midcentury gems, like this three-bedroom, two-bath listing in Portland, Oregon. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Midcentury home with original details asks $595K," 21 Dec. 2018 While Diego Fagundez, Teal Bunbury, and the rest of New England’s attack may have a plethora of chances to find the back of the net, the Revolution will have their hands full defensively. Dan Mcloone,, "Revolution look to rebound at Chicago," 8 June 2018 Media: MyRecipes The Houston metro region has a plethora of BBQ options, from Pearland's Killen's BBQ, Spring's Corkscrew BBQ, Harlem Road out in Richmond, to Pappa Charlie's out west in Cypress. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "Where to find the best brisket in Houston for National Brisket Day," 25 May 2018 Devin Tyler has had a plethora of athletic accomplishments on the baseball diamond for West De Pere High School. Kenny Levine, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "West De Pere’s Devin Tyler giving his time to future baseball players," 2 May 2018 The Union playing Friday night means the Steel can have a plethora of picks for its matchup with Cincinnati. Charlie Hatch,, "FC Cincinnati has probably the USL's toughest schedule. Sunday will reiterate that," 13 Apr. 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

14 May 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).


a strong desire or propensity

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