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

  • n. The quality or condition of being various or varied; diversity.
  • n. A number or collection of varied things, especially of a particular group; an assortment: brought home a variety of snacks.
  • n. A group that is distinguished from other groups by a specific characteristic or set of characteristics.
  • n. Biology A taxonomic subdivision of a species consisting of naturally occurring or selectively bred populations or individuals that differ from the remainder of the species in certain minor characteristics.
  • n. Biology An organism, especially a plant, belonging to such a subdivision.
  • n. A variety show.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A specific variation of something
  • n. A state of constant change
  • n. A rank in a taxonomic classification, below species and subspecies.
  • n. The total number of distinct states of a system.
  • n. Logarithm of the base 2 of the total number of distinct states of a system.
  • n. 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.
  • n. The class of all algebraic structures of a given signature satisfying a given set of identities.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The quality or state of being various; intermixture or succession of different things; diversity; multifariousness.
  • n. That which is various.
  • n. A number or collection of different things; a varied assortment.
  • n. Something varying or differing from others of the same general kind; one of a number of things that are akin; a sort.
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. Such entertainment as in given in variety shows; the production of, or performance in, variety shows.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. 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.
  • n. In petrography, in the quantitative classification of igneous rocks (see rock), a division of a mode which recognizes the presence of subordinate mineral components.
  • n. 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.
  • n. Exhibition of different characteristics by one individual; many-sidedness; versatility.
  • n. Variation; deviation; change.
  • n. A collection of different things; a varied assortment.
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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 WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

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


French variété, from Old French, from Latin varietās, varietāt-, from varius, various.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French varieté, from Latin varietās ("difference, diversity"), from varius ("different, various"); see various. (Wiktionary)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Contranym: one type v. many types.

    March 14, 2010