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 plethoric (audio) , 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 That’s because iron produces a plethora of spectral lines that are ripe for analysis. Like Lodders, Pinsonneault calls the seemingly eternal dispute frustrating. Ken Croswell, Scientific American, "An Elemental Problem with the Sun," 1 July 2020 The neighborhood boasts a plethora of bigtime past and present residents, including billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and celebrity Jennifer Lopez. Fox News, "Killing strikes Jeff Bezos' tony NYC neighborhood as shootings continue to rise," 26 June 2020 This year, a plethora of candidates -- former Vice President Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Tom Steyer -- descended onto Selma for the annual tribute and Jubilee. Shauna Stuart |, al, "Rename Edmund Pettus Bridge? Activists, politicians split: ‘It does not help history'," 24 June 2020 The platform also has a plethora of options for college sports and strengthened its original selling point with ESPN and ESPN Deportes broadcasting U.S. and international soccer. Aric Jenkins, Fortune, "FuboTV’s deal with Disney makes it a force in sports streaming," 24 June 2020 With so many forces at play, Oaxaca is in the perfect position to host a plethora of powerful quakes. National Geographic, "Why the Oaxaca earthquake made buildings sway hundreds of miles away," 23 June 2020 In recent years, the market has been flooded with many different kinds of tablets, but the plethora of models can be overwhelming. David Nield, Popular Science, "How to find a tablet that works for you," 13 June 2020 Luckily for Dallas, there are a plethora of ways to scheme touches in space for offensive weapons — the most common of which bubble/tunnel screens and jet sweeps. John Owning, Dallas News, "Film room: How CeeDee Lamb, other Cowboys draftees can make an immediate 2020 impact," 8 June 2020 Though a plexiglass mat is what might typically come to mind, Lewis-Sheets says there are a number of other choices, including bamboo, glass, or wood — a plethora of picks to complement any space. Lennie Omalza, The Courier-Journal, "Working at home? This interior designer offers tips to create a perfectly functional space," 4 June 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

Time Traveler

The first known use of plethora was in 1541

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Last Updated

6 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Plethora.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for plethora


How to pronounce plethora (audio)

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

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