from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An abundance or excess of something.
  • noun An excess of blood in the circulatory system or in one organ or area.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In pathology, overfullness of blood; a redundant fullness of the blood-vessels.
  • noun Overfullness in any respect; superabundance.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Overfullness; especially, excessive fullness of the blood vessels; repletion; that state of the blood vessels or of the system when the blood exceeds a healthy standard in quantity; hyperæmia; -- opposed to anæmia.
  • noun State of being overfull; excess; superabundance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An excessive amount or number; an abundance.
  • noun medicine, archaic An excess of red blood cells or bodily humours.

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

  • noun extreme excess


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

[Late Latin plēthōra, from Greek, from plēthein, to be full; see pelə- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Late Latin plethora (earlier pletura), from Ancient Greek πληθώρη (plēthōrē, "fullness"), from πλήθω (plēthō, "I fill").


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  • I think much credit for plethora's popularity should definitely go to the movie "The Three Amigos". Read:

    Jefe: I have put many beautiful piñatas in the storeroom, each of them filled with little surprises!

    El Guapo: Many piñatas?

    Jefe: Oh yes, many!

    El Guapo: Would you say I have a plethora of piñatas?

    Jefe: A what?

    El Guapo: A plethora.

    Jefe: ...Oh yes. You have a plethora.

    El Guapo: Jefe, what is a plethora?

    Jefe: Why, El Guapo?

    El Guapo: Well, you told me I have a plethora. And I just would like to know if you know what a plethora is. I would not like to think that a person would tell someone he has a plethora, and then find out that that person has no idea what it means to have a plethora!

    Jefe: Forgive me, El Guapo, I know that I, Jefe, do not have your superior intellect and education, but could it be that once again, you are angry at something else, and are looking to take it out on me?

    December 7, 2006

  • Good quote, but this word is ridiculously overrated. I've grown tired of hearing all the kiddies at school saying it to one another as though it were a mark of intelligence. It's almost as bad as "epitome." Both words should be blacklisted for ten years, and then gloriously rediscovered.

    December 13, 2006

  • I've already commented on the overratedness of this word, but I should add that it's especially annoying when people emphasize the second syllable. It's "PLETH er uh," not "pleth OR uh."

    May 22, 2007

  • The Three Amigos. I should own this movie.

    October 22, 2007

  • Sellibee, I think everyone should own a copy of that movie. :-)

    October 23, 2007

  • Actually I think the association can be traced to the abundantly unfunny Dane Cook who used this it 4 times during a recent tour.

    October 26, 2007

  • As seen in a Cracked's '9 Words That Don't Mean What You Think'.

    November 26, 2007

  • The original meaning of "plethora" was overabundance of one of the humors, especially blood. Treatments included bleeding the patient, using leeches. So "plethora" is merely continuing its course of amelioration.

    Has anywordie done a list of ameliorations or pejorations?

    November 26, 2007

  • It essentially comprises the epitome of words that a plethora of people get wrong...

    January 27, 2008

  • *reads comments*

    *reads tag*


    April 22, 2008

  • If you started with a plethora of piñatas, but your stock was decimated in a freak fire-ant infestation, would what you had left still constitute a plethora?

    I like the term boatload myself. Or oodles. Or scads.

    April 22, 2008

  • Don't wibble, plethora. Your username gives good mouthfeel, no matter what Uselessness tagged it. :) (Or, you know, wibble all you want, as long as it makes you feel good.)

    April 23, 2008

  • I don't think that you actually can have a plethora of piñatas. You can never have too many piñatas, in my humble opinion.

    April 23, 2008

  • Can we have a piñata of plethoras then?

    April 23, 2008

  • You want to beat me with a stick, bilby?

    April 23, 2008

  • A note slipped from the folder. Your auntie sent it on to Uncle Jim. His clever grandson posted it on the internet. About your rabid putsch for control of the International Piñatomasochism League.

    Sorry dude.

    April 23, 2008

  • Hey--'plethora' is on the list of 100 Most Beautiful Words as chosen by Dr. Goodword (Robert Beard), who has been making dictionaries, creating word lists, and writing poetry for 40 years.

    July 28, 2009

  • Undies, we discussed his list a while ago on beautiful.

    July 28, 2009

  • did? I guess you all knew about it then. tee hee *blushes*

    July 28, 2009

  • And... git.

    July 28, 2009

  • Sorry...

    July 29, 2009

  • Uhh, I hope you realise chained_bear was referring to Dr Goodword, Possibubbles. By all means share your finds here, no harm in that at all.

    July 30, 2009

  • Oh, right. Thanks for that clarification! :-)

    July 30, 2009

  • Oh, ha, ha, ha!! I'm sorry for any discomfort, P_U, but this exchange kind of made me smile. :) Absolutely post your wordie (and Wordie) beautifulness here.

    July 30, 2009

  • "Although there is a strangely monotonous plethora of incident, the plots play continual variations upon a few themes and personages."

    - Carl Van Doren, 'The American Novel'.

    September 20, 2009