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 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 The plethora of high earners is due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic demanding more hours of top health officials and Black Lives Matter protests prompting police to clock in an unrivaled amount of overtime. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 3 June 2021 Your best guess is that perhaps like any computer that sometimes gets overloaded and freezes up, maybe that’s what has happened with the self-driving car (a plethora of possibilities exist). Lance Eliot, Forbes, 1 June 2021 Today, Heron Preston and Calvin Klein’s collection drops online, with a plethora of careful wardrobe staples like the perfect white T-shirt, hoodies and sweatpants, carpenter jeans, and of course, underwear. Rachel Besser, Vogue, 23 Apr. 2021 Here is a plethora of options to bring some warmth to your home. Popular Science, 26 Jan. 2021 But other researchers say the plethora of recent changes is a warning sign that the coronavirus may have more surprises in store—and that the world needs to administer existing vaccines as fast as possible. Kai Kupferschmidt, Science | AAAS, 26 Jan. 2021 And there is no respite once people are gainfully employed, because a plethora of new job seekers are always on the way. Snigdha Poonam, The Atlantic, 16 Jan. 2021 Thanks to holidays like Boxing Day and the need to clear out inventory before the end of the year, a plethora of retailers are still in markdown mode offering 2021-ready styles at serious discounts — including one of our favorites: Reformation. Emily Ruane,, 28 Dec. 2020 The Queen Bey and her BeyGOOD foundation are proud to share that a plethora of meaningful benefactions are on the way for entrepreneurs who may have experienced financial constraints amid the pandemic. Darlene Aderoju,, 23 Dec. 2020

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

13 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Plethora.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jun. 2021.

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


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