pleth·​o·​ra | \ ˈple-thə-rə How to pronounce plethora (audio) \

Essential Meaning of plethora

formal : a very large amount or number : an amount that is much greater than what is necessary A plethora of books have been written on the subject. a plethora of information

Full 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

Other Words from plethora

plethoric \ plə-​ˈthȯr-​ik How to pronounce plethora (audio) , ple-​ , -​ˈthär-​ ; ˈple-​thə-​rik \ adjective

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web One obvious concern is that there is now a plethora of competing digital-health offerings. Spencer Jakab, WSJ, 5 Jan. 2022 In that event that this lockout continues deeper into the offseason, there would be just a plethora of moves that every team would have to make in a very short amount of time. Los Angeles Times, 3 Jan. 2022 There are a plethora of new Disney movies coming out in 2022, from new Disney animated movies to live-action versions of classics, to new movies on Disney Plus. Whitney Perry, Glamour, 1 Jan. 2022 The Windy City is a great destination when traveling with kids and while there are a plethora of dining options and attractions, these spots are quintessential Chicago. Judy Koutsky, Forbes, 29 Dec. 2021 There are a plethora of ideas for books and poems inside Moor. Roy S. Johnson |, al, 15 Dec. 2021 There has been a plethora of beautiful illustrations over the last few years, and yet this photographic illustration is distinctive. Washington Post, 18 Nov. 2021 Since then, North has been sharing a plethora of content, which her mom hasn't always been too thrilled about. Vanessa Etienne,, 22 Dec. 2021 Their Coca-Cola compilation now includes a plethora of glasses, cans from around the world, magnets, cookie jars, figurines, stuffed animals, and more. Lennie Omalza, The Courier-Journal, 9 Dec. 2021

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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Time Traveler for plethora

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The first known use of plethora was in 1541

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Last Updated

20 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Plethora.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for plethora


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 plethora (audio) , ple-​ How to pronounce plethora (audio) , -​ˈthär-​; ˈpleth-​ə-​rik \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on plethora

Nglish: Translation of plethora for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of plethora for Arabic Speakers


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