pleth·​o·​ra | \ ˈple-thə-rə How to pronounce plethora (audio) \

Essential Meaning of plethora

formal : a very large amount or number : an amount that is much greater than what is necessary A plethora of books have been written on the subject. a plethora of information

Full 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 Easy access to the long, sandy shore from a plethora of family-friendly beachfront resorts and restaurants is another part of the appeal. Megan Wood, Travel + Leisure, 16 Oct. 2021 In Poland, Donald Tusk, a former prime minister and European Council president, returned to Poland this summer to rally the main opposition party and people who often do not vote, and lure support from a plethora of other opposition groups. New York Times, 13 Oct. 2021 The charting company utilizes a formula that combines sales and streaming activity from a plethora of platforms and websites in 200 countries around the globe to create the best-possible list of the tunes billions of people can’t get enough of. Hugh Mcintyre, Forbes, 20 Sep. 2021 The effort could eliminate the need for users to choose from a plethora of available vaccine verification apps -- some of which are more trustworthy than others. Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN, 30 Aug. 2021 Customers who can’t find familiar and beloved products from a plethora of countries contact Nam to see if Saraga can start carrying it. Serena Puang, The Indianapolis Star, 14 Aug. 2021 This worked in part because the investigation had been chaotic at first, with investigators from a plethora of agencies -- including from the military -- boarding the train at various stops between Eugene and Los Angeles. oregonlive, 9 Aug. 2021 Park Square Theatre's Andy Boss Thrust Stage will feature concerts of contemporary music from a plethora of adventurous musicians from around the United States and Europe. Rob Hubbard, Star Tribune, 4 July 2021 But the most precise date comes from the plethora of flyers plastered on the bakery wall. Paula Allen, San Antonio Express-News, 3 July 2021

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

23 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Plethora.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for plethora


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

More from Merriam-Webster on plethora

Nglish: Translation of plethora for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of plethora for Arabic Speakers


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