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noun, plural va·ri·e·ties.
  1. the state of being varied or diversified: to give variety to a diet.
  2. difference; discrepancy.
  3. a number of different types of things, especially ones in the same general category: a large variety of fruits.
  4. a kind or sort.
  5. a different form, condition, or phase of something: varieties of pastry; a variety of economic reforms.
  6. a category within a species, based on some hereditary difference.
  7. a type of animal or plant produced by artificial selection.
  8. Philately. a stamp differing from others of the same issue through an accident other than an error of an artist or printer.Compare error(def 8), freak1(def 5).
  9. Also called variety show. entertainment of mixed character, consisting of a number of individual performances or acts, as of singing, dancing, or skits.Compare vaudeville(def 1).
  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of a variety: a variety performer.

Origin of variety

1525–35; < Latin varietās, equivalent to vari(us) various + -etās, variant of -itās -ity after a vowel
Related formsnon·va·ri·e·ty, noun, plural non·va·ri·e·ties.o·ver·va·ri·e·ty, nounsub·va·ri·e·ty, noun, plural sub·va·ri·e·ties.

Synonyms for variety

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Antonyms for variety

Usage note

3, 5. As a collective noun, variety, when preceded by a, is often treated as a plural: A variety of inexpensive goods are sold here. When preceded by the, it is usually treated as a singular: The variety of products is small. See also collective noun, number. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Historical Examples of varieties

British Dictionary definitions for varieties


noun plural -ties
  1. the quality or condition of being diversified or various
  2. a collection of unlike things, esp of the same general group; assortment
  3. a different form or kind within a general category; sortvarieties of behaviour
    1. taxonomya race whose distinct characters are insufficient to justify classification as a separate species; a subspecies
    2. horticulture stockbreedinga strain of animal or plant produced by artificial breeding
    1. entertainment consisting of a series of short unrelated performances or acts, such as comedy turns, songs, dances, sketches, etc
    2. (as modifier)a variety show

Word Origin for variety

C16: from Latin varietās, from various
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 varieties



1530s, from Middle French variété, from Latin varietatem (nominative varietas) "difference, diversity," from varius "various" (see vary). In reference to "music hall or theatrical performances of a mixed nature," first recorded 1868, American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper