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A Wide Variety Is Not A Plethora

From the “Even I can learn from this blog” files:

I had coffee with someone today who mentioned the word plethora. In context, she referred to a wide variety, and I’ve always thought that’s what plethora meant. To further emphasize, and to be silly using big-kid words, I would refer to a wide variety as a veritable plethora.

As I drank my coffee, I realized that I had never looked up plethora in the dictionary. Later, when I did, I was surprised.

Plethora, from the Greek meaning “fullness,” is a bodily condition characterized by excess red corpuscles in the blood or the increase of blood quantity. In other words, a fullness of blood.

The second definition read “excess; superfluity.” That is not a wide variety. Variety implies a large selection, and I suppose that could include items considered superfluous. But based on definition alone, I’ve been misusing plethora for a long time.

At least I used veritable correctly.

Until next time! Use the right words!



January 17, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , ,

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