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."

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web What did preparing to portray Dodi look like, given there’s so little information about him compared to the plethora of archival footage that exists on the royal family? Brande Victorian, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 Nov. 2023 As opposed to the plethora of 30-inch electric ranges available, there aren’t too many 20-inch options on the market to choose from, and many of the ones that are available—to put it bluntly—aren’t very good. Kat De Naoum, Better Homes & Gardens, 21 Nov. 2023 In today’s ever-changing landscape, there’s a plethora of issues that will arise, whether that’s through marketing channels, ads managers, or supply chain issues. Jane Thier, Fortune, 19 Nov. 2023 May tapped into his other life as an astrophysicist, riffing on Einstein’s theory of relativity and marveling at the plethora of lights in the audience, referencing them as stars. Brad Auerbach, SPIN, 15 Nov. 2023 Pearly white beaches are decked out with plenty of vibrant seashells (the shelling here is spectacular), a plethora of watersports, and that placid aquamarine body of water known as the Gulf of Mexico. Kara Franker, Southern Living, 14 Nov. 2023 With as many options to splurge or save on the newest garbs from your favorite clothing and footwear brands, there’s also a plethora of pages waiting to be devoured within a number of brilliant coffee table books. Candace Smith, Essence, 13 Nov. 2023 What can a Home & Villa by Marriott offer a visitor in Orlando? Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy offers a plethora of home rentals in the Orlando market that go above and beyond for our guests. Angelina Villa-Clarke, Forbes, 13 Nov. 2023 This announcement comes days after a plethora of rumors about new iPads and iPad peripherals. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, 17 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'plethora.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 28 Nov. 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

More from Merriam-Webster on plethora

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