myr·​i·​ad | \ ˈmir-ē-əd How to pronounce myriad (audio) \

Definition of myriad

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : ten thousand
2 : a great number a myriad of ideas



Definition of myriad (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : innumerable those myriad problems also : both numerous and diverse myriad topics
2 : having innumerable aspects or elements the myriad activity of the new land— Meridel Le Sueur

Is myriad a noun?: Usage Guide


Recent criticism of the use of myriad as a noun, both in the plural form myriads and in the phrase a myriad of, seems to reflect a mistaken belief that the word was originally and is still properly only an adjective. As the entries here show, however, the noun is in fact the older form, dating to the 16th century. The noun myriad has appeared in the works of such writers as Milton (plural myriads) and Thoreau (a myriad of), and it continues to occur frequently in reputable English. There is no reason to avoid it.

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In English, the "ten thousand" sense of myriad mostly appears in references to Ancient Greece, such as the following from English historian Connop Thirwall's History of Greece: "4000 men from Peloponnesus had fought at Thermopylae with 300 myriads." More often, English speakers use myriad in the broad sense—both as a singular noun ("a myriad of tiny particles") and a plural noun ("myriads of tiny particles"). Myriad can also serve as an adjective meaning "innumerable" ("myriad particles"). While some usage commentators criticize the noun use, it's been firmly established in English since the 16th century, and in fact is about 200 years older than the adjective. Myriad comes from Greek myrias, which in turn comes from myrioi, meaning "countless" or "ten thousand."

Examples of myriad in a Sentence

Noun Mr. McCullough hails Adams for being uncannily prescient … foreseeing a myriad of developments, from the difficulty of defeating the British … to the divisive consequences of slavery. — Michiko Kakutani, New York Times, 22 May 2001 Sectarian Protestantism reinforced both American individualism and the tendency of the society to be self-organizing in a myriad of voluntary associations and communities. — Francis Fukuyama, Atlantic, May 1999 Out in the barrios, under the nipa palms, he listened to the myriads of humming cicadas and the call of the geckos. — Nina FitzPatrick, Fables of the Irish Intelligentsia, 1991 To read Marie Corelli, you had to be able to follow several hundred printed words at a time, and there were myriads in England who were up to it. — Hugh Kenner, A Sinking Island, 1987 … laced his fingers behind his head and stared at the myriads of tiny colored dots that make up darkness. — John Steinbeck, East of Eden, 1952 There are a myriad of possibilities. the car can be outfitted with a myriad of options Adjective … the more quotations that could be found, the more easily the subtle differences between the (possibly) myriad usages and meanings of any single word could be identified. This is how historical dictionaries are made … — Simon Winchester, The Meaning of Everything, 2003 The age of white guilt, with its myriad corruptions and its almost racist blindness to minority individuality, may someday go down like the age of racism went down … — Shelby Steele, Harper's, November 2002 World War II accelerated the progress of science and technology into the microcosm. Scientists and technologists played tag with one another in their search for microscopic control. With mathematics and myriad theories, they defined a new microcosm. — Joseph A. Amato, Dust, 2000 The old system's problems were myriad. the myriad problems that today's cities face See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Currently, over 700 different kinds of prescription medications are available to treat a myriad of conditions and symptoms. Zee Krstic, Good Housekeeping, 17 June 2022 Golden State became the first team to hand the Celtics back-to-back losses since early March by holding them under 100 points in both Games 4 and 5, forcing a myriad of turnovers in each of those games. Alex Kay, Forbes, 16 June 2022 Fishery scientists from both NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, in presentations to the council, described a myriad of problems related to warming conditions and climate change. Yereth Rosen, Anchorage Daily News, 15 June 2022 The movement pushed the limits between the commercial and the artistic, tensions that still exist between the trade fair, with its commercial aims, and the myriad of collateral events where the focus is often more on artistic statements. Colleen Barry, ajc, 13 June 2022 At a Goodwill center in Atwater Village, a neighborhood north of downtown, voters weighed the myriad of issues plaguing the city and the candidates who each promised solutions. Christal Hayes, USA TODAY, 8 June 2022 Secondly, wears a myriad of look with high and low price points. Jasmine Browley, Essence, 8 June 2022 Social media accounts describing a myriad of mistreatment and physical abuses in Dar Al Reaya have been suspended and there are no statistics on how many women and children are being held. Lynzy Billing, ELLE, 7 June 2022 So a whole myriad of thoughts must have gone roaring through his brain. Deborah Hart Strober And Gerald Strober, Town & Country, 3 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Despite the president’s clear victory, the election results disguised myriad challenges that could make his next five years in office even more tumultuous than the last. New York Times, 26 Apr. 2022 But Noerr enthusiastically insists that the squeeze at the pump as gas prices continue to rise has presented Kern County’s ailing oil industry with an opportunity to rise to the myriad political, economic and technical challenges on the horizon. Los Angeles Times, 17 Mar. 2022 Accepting a job in the United States stacked up myriad challenges for Stoney, who had rarely been to America and never visited the West Coast. Bryce Miller Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Feb. 2022 As the city tries to emerge from the pandemic, downtown faces myriad challenges: a changing office landscape in the Loop, a decline in retail activity along the Magnificent Mile, concerns about crime. Lauren Zumbach,, 30 Jan. 2022 Finance chiefs are entering the year facing myriad challenges, ranging from supply-chain bottlenecks to inflation to regulatory scrutiny over their companies’ environmental risks and fundraising plans. Mark Maurer, WSJ, 13 Jan. 2022 But for countless families across the country, that hopeful glimmer proved to be more like a mirage, as school systems nationwide have grappled with myriad challenges this fall. Washington Post, 28 Dec. 2021 Supply chain issues, permit delays, and staffing were all among the myriad challenges the company had to overcome. Shivani Vora, Forbes, 23 Dec. 2021 On the water, para rowers bear less of the weight of societal assumptions about disabilities and fewer of their myriad daily living challenges. Bethany Ericson, The Christian Science Monitor, 13 Oct. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'myriad.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of myriad


1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1735, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for myriad

Noun and Adjective

Greek myriad-, myrias, from myrioi countless, ten thousand

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Last Updated

20 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Myriad.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for myriad


myr·​i·​ad | \ ˈmir-ē-əd How to pronounce myriad (audio) \

Kids Definition of myriad

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a very large number of things a myriad of possibilities myriads of stars



Kids Definition of myriad (Entry 2 of 2)

: many in number : extremely numerous Underneath the heaps were all the myriad little … things …— Lynne Reid Banks, The Indian in the Cupboard

More from Merriam-Webster on myriad

Nglish: Translation of myriad for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of myriad for Arabic Speakers


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