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many

[men-ee]
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adjective, more, most.
  1. constituting or forming a large number; numerous: many people.
  2. noting each one of a large number (usually followed by a or an): For many a day it rained.
noun
  1. a large or considerable number of persons or things: A good many of the beggars were blind.
  2. the many, the greater part of humankind.
pronoun
  1. many persons or things: Many of the beggars were blind. Many were unable to attend.

Origin of many

before 900; Middle English mani, meni, Old English manig, menig; akin to Old Saxon, Old High German manag, menig, Danish mange, Gothic manags
Related formso·ver·man·y, adjective

Synonyms

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1. multifarious, multitudinous, myriad; divers, sundry, various. Many, innumerable, manifold, numerous imply the presence or succession of a large number of units. Many is a popular and common word for this idea: many times. Numerous, a more formal word, refers to a great number or to very many units: letters too numerous to mention. Innumerable denotes a number that is beyond count or, more loosely, that is extremely difficult to count: the innumerable stars in the sky. Manifold implies not only that the number is large but also that there is variety or complexity.

Antonyms

1. few, single.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for many a

many

determiner
  1. (sometimes preceded by a great or a good)
    1. a large number ofmany coaches; many times
    2. (as pronoun; functioning as plural)many are seated already
  2. (foll by a, an, or another, and a singular noun) each of a considerable number ofmany a man
  3. (preceded by as, too, that, etc)
    1. a great number ofas many apples as you like; too many clouds to see
    2. (as pronoun; functioning as plural)I have as many as you
noun
  1. the many the majority of mankind, esp the common peoplethe many are kept in ignorance while the few prosper Compare few (def. 7)
See also more, most

Word Origin

Old English manig; related to Old Frisian manich, Middle Dutch menech, Old High German manag
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for many a

many

n.

Old English menigu, from many (adj.). The many "the multitude" attested from 1520s. Cf. also Gothic managei "multitude, crowd," Old High German managi "large number, plurality," German Menge "multitude."

many

adj.

Old English monig, manig "many, many a, much," from Proto-Germanic *managaz (cf. Old Saxon manag, Swedish mången, Old Frisian manich, Dutch menig, Old High German manag, German manch, Gothic manags), from PIE *menegh- "copious" (cf. Old Church Slavonic munogu "much, many," Old Irish menicc, Welsh mynych "frequent," Old Irish magham "gift"). Pronunciation altered by influence of any (see manifold).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with many a

many a

Numerous ones, as in Many a little boy has wanted to become a fireman. This adjective is always used with a singular noun, a usage dating from about 1200. Also see many is the.

In addition to the idioms beginning with many

also see:

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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