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

  • noun The quality or condition of being various or varied; diversity.
  • noun A number or collection of varied things, especially of a particular group; an assortment.
  • noun Something that is distinguished from others of the same kind by a specific characteristic or set of characteristics.
  • noun A form of a language that is used by a specific social group and differs from forms used by other social groups.
  • noun Biology A taxonomic subdivision of a species or subspecies consisting of a group of naturally occurring or selectively bred individuals that differ from other individuals of the species in certain minor characteristics.
  • noun A variety show.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In agriculture and horticulture, a group of cultivated plants which have the same characteristics. All plants which have been widely cultivated have given rise to many different forms and these are in general known as varieties. Illustrations are the varieties of strawberries, apples, corn, wheat, cotton, etc. ‘Variety,’ in this sense, is thus a generic word including races, strains, and clons. See race, 5 , strain, 1 , and clon.
  • noun In petrography, in the quantitative classification of igneous rocks (see rock), a division of a mode which recognizes the presence of subordinate mineral components.
  • noun The state or character of being varied or various; intermixture of different things, or of things different in form, or a succession of different things; diversity; multifariousness; absence of monotony or uniformity; dissimilitude.
  • noun Exhibition of different characteristics by one individual; many-sidedness; versatility.
  • noun Variation; deviation; change.
  • noun A collection of different things; a varied assortment.
  • noun Something differing from others of the same general kind; one of many things which agree in their general features; a sort; a kind: as, varieties of rock, of wood, of land, of soil; to prefer one variety of cloth to another.
  • noun In biology, with special reference to classification: A subspecies; a subdivision of a species; an individual animal or plant which differs, or collectively those individuals which differ, from the rest of its or their species, in certain recognizable particulars which are transmissible, and constant to a degree, yet which are not specifically distinctive, since they intergrade with the characters of other members of the same species; a race, especially a climatic or geographical race which arises without man's interference. See species, 5.

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

  • noun The quality or state of being various; intermixture or succession of different things; diversity; multifariousness.
  • noun That which is various.
  • noun A number or collection of different things; a varied assortment.
  • noun Something varying or differing from others of the same general kind; one of a number of things that are akin; a sort.
  • noun (Biol.) An individual, or group of individuals, of a species differing from the rest in some one or more of the characteristics typical of the species, and capable either of perpetuating itself for a period, or of being perpetuated by artificial means; hence, a subdivision, or peculiar form, of a species.
  • noun In inorganic nature, one of those forms in which a species may occur, which differ in minor characteristics of structure, color, purity of composition, etc.
  • noun (Theaters), Cant Such entertainment as in given in variety shows; the production of, or performance in, variety shows.
  • noun (Biol.) a variety of any species which is coincident with a geographical region, and is usually dependent upon, or caused by, peculiarities of climate.
  • noun (Biol.) a cross between two individuals of different varieties of the same species; a mongrel.

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

  • noun A specific variation of something
  • noun A state of constant change
  • noun taxonomy A rank in a taxonomic classification, below species and subspecies.
  • noun cybernetics The total number of distinct states of a system.
  • noun cybernetics Logarithm of the base 2 of the total number of distinct states of a system.
  • noun linguistics a term used for a specific form of a language, neutral to whether that form is a dialect, accent, register, etc. and to its prestige level.
  • noun algebra The class of all algebraic structures of a given signature satisfying a given set of identities.

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

  • noun a collection containing a variety of sorts of things
  • noun a category of things distinguished by some common characteristic or quality
  • noun noticeable heterogeneity
  • noun a difference that is usually pleasant
  • noun a show consisting of a series of short unrelated performances
  • noun (biology) a taxonomic category consisting of members of a species that differ from others of the same species in minor but heritable characteristics


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

[French variété, from Old French, from Latin varietās, varietāt-, from varius, various.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French varieté, from Latin varietās ("difference, diversity"), from varius ("different, various"); see various.


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  • Contranym: one type v. many types.

    March 14, 2010