Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The condition or quality of being numerous.
  • n. A very great number.
  • n. The masses; the populace: the concerns of the multitude.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A great amount or number, often of people.
  • n. The mass of ordinary people; the populous or the masses

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A great number of persons collected together; a numerous collection of persons; a crowd; an assembly.
  • n. A great number of persons or things, regarded collectively
  • n. The state of being many; numerousness.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The character of being many; numerousness; also, a great number regarded collectively or as congregated together.
  • n. A great number, indefinitely.
  • n. A crowd or throng; a gathering or collection of people.
  • n. Synonyms Multitude, Throng, Crowd, swarm, mass, host, legion. A multitude, however great, may he in a space so large as to give each one ample room; a throng or a crowd is generally smaller than a multitude, but is gathered into a close body, a throng being a company that presses together or forward, and a crowd carrying the closeness to uncomfortable physical contact.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the common people generally
  • n. a large gathering of people
  • n. a large indefinite number

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin multitūdō, from multus, many; see mel-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Anglo-Norman multitude, Middle French multitude, and their source, Latin multitūdō. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The name of Democracy was assumed because it was discovered to be _very taking_ among the multitude; yet, after all, it is but the investment of the _multitude_ with absolute power.

    Memoir of the Life of John Quincy Adams.

  • Burke's phrase of "the swinish multitude," applied to mobs, was then in every body's mouth; and, accordingly, after my brother had recovered from his first astonishment at this audacious mutiny, he made us several sweeping bows that looked very much like tentative rehearsals of a sweeping _fusillade_, and then addressed us in a very brief speech, of which we could distinguish the words _pearls_ and _swinish multitude_, but uttered in a very low key, perhaps out of some lurking consideration for the two young strangers.

    Autobiographical Sketches

  • WaMu attorney Brian Rosen said he hoped additional negotiations scheduled for Monday will result in an understanding on what he called a multitude of issues.

    SFGate: Top News Stories

  • The eloquence of Rienzi was prompt and persuasive: the multitude is always prone to envy and censure: he was stimulated by the loss of a brother and the impunity of the assassins; nor was it possible to excuse or exaggerate the public calamities.

    The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

  • Listen, with all your ears ere I chew them off in multitude and gross!

    CHAPTER III

  • If the multitude is possessed of the balance of real estate, the multitude will take care of the liberty, virtue, and interest of the multitude, in all acts of government.

    Think Progress » Bush Administration Developing Plans To Keep 50,000 U.S. Troops In Iraq For Decades

  • And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand:

    Probably Just One Of Those Funny Coincidences

  • I hope the multitude is just waiting for the NC-17 parts.

    Now I know how Anne Perry felt...

  • ¶ And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand:

    Matthew 15.

  • To prove all this he called a multitude of witnesses, who kissed the same book and swore the same thing almost in the same words.

    The Reminiscences Of Sir Henry Hawkins

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