Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
WORD OF THE DAY: MYRIAD
What It Means
The noun myriad is usually followed by of and means “a great number,” as in “a myriad of possibilities.” It is also common as an adjective meaning “very many” or “both numerous and diverse,” as in “myriad topics were discussed at the convention.”
// The middle school class generated a myriad of ideas for ways they could volunteer in the community.
MYRIAD in Context
“With a film career spanning more than three decades as an actor, director, writer, and martial artist, Michael Jai White has cemented himself as one of the top action stars and Black martial artists in the genre today. Studying martial arts since a young age, White learned a myriad of styles over the years … with eight black belts to his name and earning the title of ‘The Mantle of the Black Dragon’ in 2019 at the Urban Action Film Showcase from the Black Dragon himself, Ron van Clief.” — Frankie “Balboa” Diaz, Polygon.com, 15 June 2023
Did You Know?
You don’t need ten thousand justifications to use myriad as a noun, only one: with more than 400 years of usage history behind it, the noun myriad, as in the phrase “a myriad of,” is a well-established and respectable member of the English language. Still, we understand that “myriad of” raises the hackles of myriad folks who were taught at one point or another that myriad is only to be used as an adjective, and that phrases like “a myriad of emailers vexed about myriad” should be shunned in favor of “myriad emailers vexed about myriad.”
Now, to each their own lexical peeves and pleasures, but let it be known that myriad entered the English language in the mid-1500s as a noun, and since its introduction has been used in the senses of “ten thousand,” “a set of ten thousand,” “an immense or indefinitely large number,” and “a great multitude”; furthermore, it has appeared in the works of such writers as Milton, Thoreau, Twain, and DuBois—no slouches when it comes to wielding words. Myriad the adjective is about 200 years younger, but both continue to enjoy wide use today.
Merriam Webster Dictionary