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)

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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
Recent Examples on the Web The home is equipped with a plethora of eco-conscious amenities including solar panels, geothermal systems for heating/cooling/hot water, energy-efficient ventilation, high-performance windows/insulation, and rain gardens. Kaitlyn Keegan, Hartford Courant, 11 July 2024 Driving the news: While San Francisco is known for its plethora of pups, there are more in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago than in the city by the bay. Megan Rose Dickey, Axios, 10 July 2024 Doubles from $2,200 Wildflower Farms, Auberge Resort Collection | Hudson Valley, New York Photo : Courtesy of Auberge Resorts Upstate New York is a buzzy new luxe destination, with a plethora of high-end hotels in the pipeline, including Six Senses. Mark Ellwood, Robb Report, 10 July 2024 Given his plethora of outfield options, Hyde could have stopped giving Cowser regular chances. Childs Walker, Baltimore Sun, 5 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for plethora 

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 20 Jul. 2024.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on plethora

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