[ fi-nom-uh-nuh ]
/ fɪˈnɒm ə nə /
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a plural of phenomenon.
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Origin of phenomena

First recorded in 1580–90 with spelling phænomena

usage note for phenomena

As with other plurals of Latin or Greek origin, like media and criteria, there is a tendency to use the plural phenomena as a singular ( This phenomena will not be seen again ), but such use occurs infrequently in edited writing. The plural form phenomenas, though occasionally seen, has even less currency.


phenomena , phenomenal, phenomenon (see usage note at the current entry)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does phenomena mean?

Phenomena is the plural of phenomenon, which most generally refers to an observable occurrence or circumstance. For example, hurricanes and tornadoes are two kinds of weather phenomena.

Phenomenon is also commonly used to refer to an extraordinary event or something that becomes the subject of widespread interest and attention, as in Both films have become worldwide phenomena.

Sometimes, phenomenon refers to a person with an extraordinary talent or ability, especially a relatively young person who is considered a prodigy. The word phenom (a shortened form of phenomenon) is commonly used to mean the same thing, as in She became an internationally known chess phenom when she was just 14 years old. This sense of phenomenon is not commonly pluralized as phenomena.

Example: Scientists are struggling to explain these strange phenomena, saying they’ve never seen anything like them.

Where does phenomena come from?

The first records of the word phenomena come from the 1580s. It is the plural of phenomenon, which comes from the Greek phainómenon, from the verb phaínesthai, meaning “to appear, become visible,” from phaínein, “to show, bring to light, make known.”

Most senses of phenomenon deal with things that are visible or observable or that have become well-known. In science, the word phenomena is typically used to refer to things that occur naturally and can be observed, such as a weather phenomena or a cosmic phenomena. In philosophy, it’s used more broadly to refer to objects of perception or experience.

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

How is phenomena used in real life?

Phenomena is a somewhat formal word, but it can be used in all kinds of contexts, including serious scientific ones and ones involving pop culture.

Try using phenomena!

True or False?

Lightning and hail are both examples of weather phenomena.

How to use phenomena in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for phenomena

/ (fɪˈnɒmɪnə) /

a plural of phenomenon
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