Word of the Day: myriad

Sea of StarsWord of the Day: myriad

myriad (noun) MEER-ee-ud


1 : ten thousand

2 : a great number


“After sold-out shows in New York and Los Angeles, Rise will make its debut in Boston with a myriad of hand-carved jack o’ lanterns that will light up a trail that people can walk on as music plays in the background.” — Matt Juul, Boston Magazine, 21 Sept. 2016

“The robust and metallic nest-like venue, which is the first ever arena to be run entirely on solar power, features additional popular local restaurants, grab-and-go fresh fruits and vegetables, a touch of Sacramento history with their refurbished neon signs, and a myriad of local microbreweries.” — Michael Morris, The Vallejo (California) Times-Herald, 28 Sept. 2016

Did You Know?

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.”

My Take

Mermaids Escaping
Mermaids Escaping

I love the word myriad. I use it frequently. I’ve always known it to mean a great number, a large number, or an uncountable number. Less than infinite but large enough that it might as well be infinite.

What I did not know was that it also meant a specific number, ten thousand to be exact. I found that interesting. So, the next time I have a need to use a word for ten thousand, I’ll be sure to use it.

Happy trails everyone. Thanks for reading.

Please share your comments. I’m sure we would all enjoy reading them.

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