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 Thankfully, there are a plethora of kitchen drawer organizers available to keep your spoons, forks, knives, and cooking utensils in their place. Katie Melynn, Peoplemag, 12 Jan. 2023 There are a plethora of companies marketing boat waxes and cleaning products, so finding the right one can be a challenge. Max Inchausti, Field & Stream, 9 Jan. 2023 The Grinch Who Stole Christmas is on HBO Max, Hulu and Amazon Prime - a plethora of choices that help keep it in second place. Adrienne Gibbs, Forbes, 29 Dec. 2022 These trendy treatments are plentiful, but thankfully there are also a plethora of science buffs on the app who debunk many of these myths and often offer alternative skincare treatment solutions. Nerisha Penrose, ELLE, 22 Dec. 2022 From Chris Evans' iconic sweaters in Knives Out, to Jennifer Lawrence's career-making performance in Winter's Bone, there are a plethora of movies set during the coldest season that just have to be watched. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, 6 Dec. 2022 Fortunately, there will be a plethora of paths for registrants to take, given the abundance of January sports on-hand. cleveland, 3 Dec. 2022 Luckily, there will be a plethora of options for those looking to congregate. Hayden Bird,, 1 Dec. 2022 There are a plethora of online travel providers that offer reward programs, such as and Expedia. Dallas News, 1 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

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 26 Jan. 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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