Definition of variety in English:



  • 1[mass noun] The quality or state of being different or diverse; the absence of uniformity or monotony.

    ‘it's the variety that makes my job so enjoyable’
    • ‘Digital radio promised lower costs, higher quality and more variety.’
    • ‘Concentration of media power in too few hands not only can lead to higher prices for consumers but can hurt variety and quality of programming.’
    • ‘But more importantly, it probably means we'll see an increase in the quantity, quality and variety of free online content.’
    • ‘The diet has improved in quality and variety, with modern supermarkets offering imported foods.’
    • ‘Many attendees said they appreciated the quality and variety of exhibitors, lectures and seminars.’
    • ‘The craving for variety rather than for quality is one of the chief causes of England's being Europe's gastronomic sump.’
    • ‘This added yet more variety and nutritional diversity to the diet.’
    • ‘Customers are getting snobbier about their teas and are demanding better quality and wider variety.’
    • ‘A smaller pool of people can mean less diversity, less variety and less dynamism.’
    • ‘In recent years scientists have been struck by the diversity and variety of objects found in the solar system.’
    • ‘The Northern Mockingbird is known and loved for the quality and variety of its song.’
    • ‘A regular festival-goer, he still rates Glastonbury as the best UK festival for both variety and quality of food.’
    • ‘Visitors said they wanted greater variety and better quality at a reasonable price.’
    • ‘With improved packaging came improved quality and variety of meals.’
    • ‘The survey found that a lack of variety and poor nutritional quality of foods limits shoppers' ability to eat healthfully.’
    • ‘Unlike me, some people really do prefer uniformity to variety, regardless of cost.’
    • ‘In Spain, there is now a robust supply of both Moroccan hashish and homegrown marijuana of increasing variety and quality.’
    • ‘Waterford City has become noted in recent years for the quality and variety of its new and renewed streetscapes.’
    • ‘However, what the restaurant lacks in variety it more than makes up for in quality.’
    • ‘The exhibition is aimed at showing the public the quality and variety of Architectural work throughout Ireland.’
    diversity, variation, diversification, multifariousness, heterogeneity, variegation, many-sidedness, change, difference
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    1. 1.1A number or range of things of the same general class that are distinct in character or quality.
      ‘the centre offers a variety of leisure activities’
      • ‘Stallholders offered a variety of goods and a range of arts and crafts were on display.’
      • ‘The evidence comes, as I have said, from a variety of sources.’
      • ‘It is five miles from St Andrews and a similar distance from a variety of beaches and scenic towns.’
      • ‘The money raised from the carnival will be distributed to a variety of local good causes.’
      • ‘His work draws upon a variety of influences ranging from travel to music and film.’
      • ‘The popular beauty spot is home to a variety of wildlife including birds and types of bats.’
      • ‘We were hoping to open much sooner, but for a variety of reasons the opening has been delayed.’
      • ‘Human behavior is especially difficult to study because it can be influenced by a wide variety of factors.’
      • ‘There is now a wide range of ethical and green funds operating in a variety of ways.’
      • ‘I now have to buy all my food from Tesco, when I'd rather choose from a variety of shops.’
      • ‘However he has had a variety of different roles with a range of responsibilities.’
      • ‘Individuals offered votive gifts on a variety of occasions and not only in times of crisis.’
      • ‘Most of us end up with a number of pensions accumulated over the years from a variety of employers.’
      • ‘As soon as we had ordered, a young waiter whipped round and plied us with a variety of fresh bread.’
      • ‘Training days will be held during late April and May at a variety of places across the county.’
      • ‘She is a good teacher and varies the exercises we do so I have a variety of different things to tackle.’
      • ‘Sea temperatures are measured in a variety of ways and to varying degrees of accuracy.’
      • ‘The panelists generally favored sites that offered the greatest variety of products.’
      • ‘Instead, there are a variety of different genes which appear to be linked to the disease.’
      • ‘Record sales are down for a variety of reasons, and consumers are in open revolt.’
      assortment, miscellany, range, array, collection, selection, line-up, mixture, medley, mixed bag, mix, diversity, multiplicity, motley, motley collection, pot-pourri
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    2. 1.2[count noun]A thing which differs in some way from others of the same general class or sort; a type.
      ‘fifty varieties of fresh and frozen pasta’
      • ‘‘Mmm,’ I said, munching away at a small slice of the rhubarb pie I'd been obliged to buy in the absence of the apple variety.’
      • ‘Municipal bonds come in two varieties: general obligation bonds and revenue bonds.’
      • ‘One of the world's oldest plants and a magnificent twisted tree are among nine varieties of exotic new plants at Sheffield's Winter Garden.’
      • ‘Early flowering varieties have been blooming for a few weeks and their later flowering relatives will gradually join them.’
      • ‘The general results indicated native varieties were superior to the foreign ones.’
      • ‘Many people buy soup instead, now that supermarkets stock a wider and more adventurous range of fresh and canned varieties.’
      • ‘Small firms generally come in two varieties: family-run or entrepreneur-led.’
      • ‘Through it, thousands of Americans were introduced to dance, albeit of the music hall variety.’
      • ‘As a cheaper alternative, the following wines are made by Burgundian winemakers using the traditional grape varieties already featured.’
      • ‘Generally, white varieties of onion are chosen, purely for reasons of appearance.’
      • ‘Merlot is Bordeaux's most planted black grape variety, and has been enjoying unaccustomed popularity elsewhere.’
      • ‘Several rural and urban working-class varieties of Scots coexist with rural and urban middle class varieties.’
      • ‘In general, more varieties may be grown in the milder climate of southern Missouri.’
      • ‘New varieties generally last only five to seven years before they are replaced.’
      • ‘The apples must be of a variety approved by the appellation, freshly picked (which means no concentrates) and actually grown in the Pays d' Auge region.’
      • ‘Today a wide range of fresh varieties such as plum, cherry and vine tomatoes are readily available.’
      • ‘Our waitress came round with good fresh bread, three or four varieties, then two fresh shell on prawns each to nibble on.’
      • ‘School children from across the region have helped Forestry Commission rangers to plant tree varieties including oak, holly and alder.’
      • ‘The many varieties of guitar that abound in the regional folk musics of Latin America are all adaptations of European models.’
      • ‘Under the heading of Yorkshire Garden World Pies, with fresh herbs, two varieties were on offer.’
      sort, kind, type, class, category, classification, style, description, status, quality, nature, manner, design, shape, form, pattern, group, set, bracket, genre, species, rank, genus, family, order, breed, race, strain, generation, vintage, make, model, brand, stamp, ilk, kidney, cast, grain, mould
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    3. 1.3A form of television or theatre entertainment consisting of a series of different types of act, such as singing, dancing, and comedy.
      [as modifier] ‘a variety show’
      • ‘They sing, they dance, they act in major variety shows and dramas and other TV specials as extras and sometimes as part of the main cast.’
      • ‘The next variety concert will take place at the Lakeside Hotel on Wednesday, August 25.’
      • ‘Music hall and variety were replaced in the public fancy by cinema after 1918.’
      • ‘She was, therefore, forced to accept anything offered, tours, pantomimes, weeks with repertory companies and variety tours.’
      • ‘She took him to variety theatre and they saw every Crazy Gang show there was.’
      • ‘During the 1950s, I danced regularly on television variety shows.’
      • ‘He appeared on stage in many variety concerts and was a wonderful MC.’
      • ‘Concert parties at the time improvised with available talent and material to provide variety revues involving light-hearted music and comedy.’
      • ‘Stagecoach will mount a Christmas show of music, variety, poetry and comedy in Trinity Methodist Church in the week before Christmas.’
      • ‘The forties and fifties found her stealing the limelight in a series of successful West End revues in addition to entertaining the forces, appearing in variety and cabaret performances.’
      • ‘The variety concert will include a host of artists and school brass bands.’
      • ‘A standard radio studio of that era could be a very intimidating place, and a theatre would create a much better atmosphere for radio comedy, variety shows or quizzes.’
      • ‘For anyone who loves a bit of traditional entertainment, in the form of a music hall or variety night, the return of a popular show will be welcome.’
      • ‘Simon Gross has worked extensively in theatre, television, cabaret and variety.’
      • ‘But fashions changed and variety entertainment dwindled in popularity.’
      • ‘Also on offer are variety entertainment, solo singing and dance.’
      • ‘Tony Charmoli, a pioneer and innovator during the days of variety television, received a Career Achievement Award.’
      • ‘With a London debut in 1891, he quickly established a successful career in music-hall, variety, pantomime, revue, operetta, and musical comedy.’
      • ‘Of course, as a result of this I ended up singing on television variety shows along with Dinah Shore, Perry Como, Pat Boone, even Ethel Merman!’
      • ‘Archie performs his moth-eaten variety act before dwindling audiences in dog-eared music hall theatres.’
  • 2Biology
    A taxonomic category that ranks below subspecies (where present) or species, its members differing from others of the same subspecies or species in minor but permanent or heritable characteristics. Varieties are more often recognized in botany, in which they are designated in the style Apium graveolens (var. dulce).

    • ‘At least 66 individual species and varieties, representing 25 genera were identified.’
    • ‘Taxa recognized within this genus include sections, species, and varieties.’
    • ‘Viola is represented by 25 species, two additional subspecies, and five varieties.’
    • ‘The existence of such variation creates problems in distinguishing between taxa at the level of species and varieties.’
    • ‘Martynova described 23 species and varieties of Cyrtospirifer from the Famennian of Kazakhstan.’
    1. 2.1A cultivated form of a plant.
      • ‘Concerns about pesticide use have led breeders to develop broccoli varieties with natural resistance to downy mildew.’
      • ‘Cultivated varieties generally differ greatly from wild genotypes of the same closely related species.’
      • ‘Cultivars, or varieties bred from the vine, account for nearly all of the wine produced today.’
      • ‘For farmers the focus was on some of the latest developments in producing hybrid varieties of vegetables and fruits.’
      • ‘Most of the bulbs we plant in our gardens are cultivated varieties, raised in nurseries in this country or in the Netherlands.’
    2. 2.2A plant or animal which varies in some trivial respect from its immediate parent or type.


  • variety is the spice of life

    • proverb New and exciting experiences make life more interesting.

      • ‘Some differences will persist but then variety is the spice of life.’
      • ‘Then again he is very broadminded in his musical taste which is a good thing really I suppose - variety is the spice of life and all that.’
      • ‘Don't force children to eat and remember, variety is the spice of life.’
      • ‘Most people would agree that variety is the spice of life, and that includes sex.’
      • ‘You may have a passion for one kind of wine or another, but variety is the spice of life with wine, so shop around for different styles.’
      • ‘The next evening I pulled the same stunt with a completely different person, variety being the spice of life.’
      • ‘Some say variety is the spice of life, and when it comes to breakfast I have to agree with them.’
      • ‘You know what they say about variety being the spice of life.’
      • ‘Well, they do say variety is the spice of life, I suppose.’
      • ‘The old adage that variety is the spice of life still holds true!’


Late 15th century: from French variété or Latin varietas, from varius (see various).