[ muhl-tuh-plis-i-tee ]
/ ˌmʌl təˈplɪs ɪ ti /
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noun, plural mul·ti·plic·i·ties.
a large number or variety: a multiplicity of errors.
the state of being multiplex or manifold; manifold variety.
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Origin of multiplicity

1580–90; <Late Latin multiplicitās, equivalent to multiplic- (stem of multiplex) multiplex + -itās-ity
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does multiplicity mean?

Multiplicity most commonly means a large number or a great variety.

It is the noun form of the adjective multiple, meaning more than one or several. It can also mean the state of being multiple.

Multiplicity is used in more specific ways in several different scientific fields, but all of them have to do with multiple instances of things.

Example: When designing a craft for space travel, you have to consider a multiplicity of issues.

Where does multiplicity come from?

The first records of multiplicity come from around the 1500s. It comes from the Late Latin multiplicitās, which derives from the Latin multiplex, meaning “multiple.” The suffix -ity is used to form abstract nouns that indicate a state or condition.

Multiplicity is most often used to mean “a large variety” (as in a multiplicity of options) or “a large number” (as in a multiplicity of problems). But sometimes multiplicity doesn’t refer to a variety of things but instead to variety in things. You might have heard the popular line from the poet Walt Whitman: “I contain multitudes.” When he said that, he was referring to the multiplicity of human beings’ internal selves—the way our identities are all made up of various pieces and elements, some of which are contradictory.

In psychology, the word multiplicity is used to describe the state experienced by people with dissociative identity disorder (formerly called multiple personality disorder), in which a person experiences multiple selves. In mathematics, multiplicity is used in relation to equations to refer to the number of times a value occurs. In physics, multiplicity refers to the number of levels that the energy of atoms, molecules, or nuclei splits into in certain scenarios, or the number of elementary particles in a group.

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What are some other forms related to multiplicity?

What are some synonyms for multiplicity?

What are some words that share a root or word element with multiplicity


What are some words that often get used in discussing multiplicity?


How is multiplicity used in real life?

Multiplicity most commonly means “a great variety,” but using the phrase a great variety (or something similar) is much more common than saying multiplicity. When multiplicity is used, it tends to be used in a somewhat formal or technical way.



Try using multiplicity!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of multiplicity?

A. variety
B. assortment
C. abundance
D. lack

How to use multiplicity in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for multiplicity

/ (ˌmʌltɪˈplɪsɪtɪ) /

noun plural -ties
a large number or great variety
the state of being multiple
  1. the number of levels into which the energy of an atom, molecule, or nucleus splits as a result of coupling between orbital angular momentum and spin angular momentum
  2. the number of elementary particles in a multiplet
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