Definition of plethora in US English:



  • 1a plethora ofA large or excessive amount of (something)

    ‘a plethora of committees and subcommittees’
    • ‘This CD has nothing but unexciting songs that could get lost and forgotten in a plethora of much better music.’
    • ‘Going through a major physical change can bring about a plethora of feelings.’
    • ‘That criminality should not be obscured by a plethora of psychological or psychiatric assumptions.’
    • ‘Yes, there is a plethora of things to do when you're a student, self-employed, or a little short on cash.’
    • ‘Still, there's a plethora of self-help books offering tips and advice.’
    • ‘This is a complicated, compelling book with countless strands that would provide fodder for a plethora of novels or histories.’
    • ‘He faces a plethora of charges ranging from aggravated assault to indecent exposure and corruption of a minor.’
    • ‘O'Sullivan has gained a plethora of political experience and has been a strong voice at local government.’
    • ‘More recently, a plethora of books questioning the foundations of Western faith have appeared.’
    • ‘Remuneration consultants like Chris Hart have a plethora of names.’
    • ‘Travelers can choose from a plethora of different lodging options on a mountain vacation.’
    • ‘Over 50 retailers have put up their stalls to give consumers a plethora of opportunities to shop.’
    • ‘The British Isles boast a plethora of university art galleries.’
    • ‘Since then I downloaded a plethora of e-mail soliciting my opinion on their local church website.’
    • ‘If the indoor concerts are of lesser interest to the jazz devotee than in the past, the free shows offer a plethora of talent.’
    • ‘Flicking through beauty magazines reveals a plethora of such deals, with money off a range of invasive surgical procedures.’
    • ‘A woman of today can be considered luckier as she has a plethora of designs to choose from, from casual wear to party wear.’
    • ‘He was also a multi-talented musician who could adapt himself to a plethora of instruments.’
    • ‘You can expect a plethora of them over the festive fortnight, and those with a taste for this kind of television must have been cheering last week.’
    • ‘This was hardly a thriller, but there was plentiful excitement due to a plethora of mistakes from both defences in the second half.’
    abundance, lot, mass, host, plenitude, cornucopia, riot
    excess, abundance, overabundance, superfluity, surfeit, profusion, more than enough, too many, too much, enough and to spare, superabundance, surplus, glut, flood, torrent, deluge, embarrassment
    View synonyms
  • 2Medicine
    An excess of a bodily fluid, particularly blood.

    • ‘With the development of plethora, the number of reticulated cells in the blood decreased.’
    • ‘An anemia which developed despite continued blood transfusions in two dogs splenectomized during plethora has also been studied.’


Strictly, a plethora is not just an abundance of something, it is an excessive amount. However, the new, looser sense is now so dominant that it must be regarded as part of standard English


Mid 16th century (in the medical sense): via late Latin from Greek plēthōrē, from plēthein ‘be full’.