pleth·​o·​ra | \ˈple-thə-rə \

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, ple-​, -​ˈthär-​; ˈple-​thə-​rik \ adjective

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."

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

Microsoft’s November update for Xbox One consoles brings a plethora of new capabilities and changes, including the ability to directly stream from Amazon Music. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "Amazon Music is now available on Xbox One consoles," 14 Nov. 2018 Dell has a plethora of tools available designed to help truly small businesses manage, scale and grow. Steve Strauss, USA TODAY, "Bigger, better, faster: Let technology lead the way for your small business," 28 June 2018 Billboard's latest Alternative Songs airplay chart features a plethora of characters, including leader lovelytheband, newcomer King Princess, veteran group Weezer and... Kevin Rutherford, Billboard, "George Benson, Tammy Wynette & Other Surprising Artists to Make the Alternative Songs Chart," 21 June 2018 The collection of 125 recipes features a plethora of new dishes, family favorites, and a few highlights from her Cooking Channel show, Dinner at Tiffani’s. Ana Calderone,, "Get a Sneak Peek at Tiffani Thiessen's First-Ever Cookbook," 11 May 2018 Spring’s plethora of veils telegraph all kinds of associations. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "The Top 10 Accessories Trends of Spring 2019," 16 Oct. 2018 Reddit threads and Instagram comments sections have continued to be full of disappointed fans, who are calling out the brand for offering a plethora of light beige shades, with darker options feeling like an afterthought. Karina Hoshikawa, Teen Vogue, "Beautyblender's New Bounce Foundation Is Called Out for Limited Shade Range," 20 July 2018 The Best of the Super Juniors offered a plethora of great matches, but the final affair was, by far, the best combination of action, psychology, and execution. Justin Barrasso,, "The Week in Wrestling: Why Brock Lesnar’s Absence Is Such a Big Problem for Raw," 6 June 2018 Our smartphones offer a plethora of great coping tools and this is something the majority of us already carry with us. Nicole Spector /, NBC News, "What to do (and carry with you) to cope with a panic attack," 29 May 2018

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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Statistics for plethora

Last Updated

10 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for plethora

The first known use of plethora was in 1541

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More Definitions for plethora



English Language Learners Definition of plethora

: a very large amount or number : an amount that is much greater than what is necessary


pleth·​o·​ra | \ˈpleth-ə-rə \

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, ple-​, -​ˈthär-​; ˈpleth-​ə-​rik \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on plethora

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for plethora

Spanish Central: Translation of plethora

Nglish: Translation of plethora for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of plethora for Arabic Speakers

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