pleth·​o·​ra ˈple-thə-rə How to pronounce plethora (audio)
: an ample amount or number : abundance, profusion
… Grand Cayman offers a plethora of bustling restaurants, ritzy resorts and comfortable condos …Susanne Cummings
… a world whose credibility is threatened by the meaningless plethora of material goods it goes on producing.W. Roy Niblett
: a bodily condition characterized by an excess of blood and marked by turgescence and a florid complexion
plə-ˈthȯr-ik How to pronounce plethora (audio)

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."

Example Sentences

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 Most recently, fans have also made their way to Beyoncé’s Renaissance tour, with the singer, dancers, and attendees channeling the album’s ballroom aesthetics and sounds with a plethora of folding fans that also nod to the singer’s longtime embrace of Black southern style. Frances Solá-santiago,, 25 May 2023 However, with the plethora of options available in the market, finding the perfect dog bed can be a daunting task. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 24 May 2023 The campus — which replaced facilities more closely resembling a prison with ones designed like a school — is equipped with a real woodshop space outfitted with a plethora of tools and machinery. Emily Alvarenga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 May 2023 As well as Channel 4, Land had worked at Sky, The Outside Organisation, Taylor Herring and Planet Hollywood, delivering campaigns for a plethora of film and TV shows. K.j. Yossman, Variety, 14 May 2023 For a modern space, consider geometrics (Love vs Design has a plethora of easily removable options) and metallics. Gina Mayfield, Dallas News, 1 May 2023 Sets were minimalist and versatile, adaptable to a plethora of venues. Daniel E. Slotnik,, 29 Apr. 2023 As another weekend approaches, Netflix NFLX +0.8% is once again gearing up to unleash a plethora of fresh content. Travis Bean, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2023 The plethora of programming announcements from Warner Discovery was accompanied by the news that the HBO Max streaming service would be combined with Discovery+ to create the new streaming service, Max. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 12 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'plethora.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

circa 1541, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of plethora was circa 1541


Dictionary Entries Near plethora

Cite this Entry

“Plethora.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jun. 2023.

Medical Definition


pleth·​o·​ra ˈpleth-ə-rə How to pronounce plethora (audio)
: a bodily condition characterized by an excess of blood and marked by turgescence and a reddish complexion
plə-ˈthȯr-ik How to pronounce plethora (audio) ple- How to pronounce plethora (audio)
-ˈthär-; ˈpleth-ə-rik

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