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many - Wiktionary


Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary Jump to navigation Jump to search See also: Many and -mány



English Wikipedia has an article on:many Wikipedia


From Middle English many, mani, moni, from Old English maniġ, moniġ, maneġ (“many”), from Proto-Germanic *managaz (“some, much, many”).


Cognate with Scots mony (“many”), North Frisian manag, manig, mäning (“many”), West Frisian manich (“some, many”), Saterland Frisian moonige (“many”), West Frisian mannich (“many”), Dutch menig (“many”), Low German männig (“Many”), German manch (“many, some”) and mannig-, French maint (“many”), Russian мно́гий (mnógij), Scottish Gaelic minig

The noun is from Middle English manye, *menye, from Old English manigeo, menigu (“company, multitude, host”), from Proto-Germanic *managō, *managį̄ (“multitude”), from the same root as the determiner. Cognate with Middle Low German menige, menie, menje (“multitude”), Russian много (mnogo).



many (comparative more, superlative most)

  1. An indefinite large number of.
    many people enjoy playing chess;  there are many different ways to cook a meal
    • Bible, Genesis xvii.4:
      Thou shalt be a father of many nations.
    • 1909, Archibald Marshall [pseudonym; Arthur Hammond Marshall], chapter III, in The Squire’s Daughter, London: Methuen, OCLC 12026604; republished New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1919, OCLC 491297620:
      The big houses, and there are a good many of them, lie for the most part in what may be called by courtesy the valleys. You catch a glimpse of them sometimes at a little distance from the [railway] line, which seems to have shown some ingenuity in avoiding them, […].
    • 2013 July 6, “The rise of smart beta”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8843, page 68:
      Investors face a quandary. Cash offers a return of virtually zero in many developed countries; government-bond yields may have risen in recent weeks but they are still unattractive. Equities have suffered two big bear markets since 2000 and are wobbling again. It is hardly surprising that pension funds, insurers and endowments are searching for new sources of return.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Many is used only with the plural of countable nouns (except in the combination many a). Its counterpart used with uncountable nouns is much. Many and much merge in the comparative and superlative forms, which are more and most for both determiners.



Derived terms[edit]


an indefinite large number of



  1. A collective mass of people.
    Democracy must balance the rights of the few against the will of the many
    A great many do not understand this.
  2. An indefinite large number of people or things.
    Many are called, but few are chosen.
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 4, in A Cuckoo in the Nest:
      By some paradoxical evolution rancour and intolerance have been established in the vanguard of primitive Christianity. Mrs. Spoker, in common with many of the stricter disciples of righteousness, was as inclement in demeanour as she was cadaverous in aspect.

Usage notes[edit]

  • It was once common to use the indefinite article with "many" (a many years ago), as it still is with "few" (a few good men). However, this has fallen out of favor except in formations such as "a great many."


  • 1611King James Version of the Bible, Luke 1:1
    Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us...


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


a collective mass of people an indefinite large number of people or things
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.
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many (plural (rare) manies)

  1. A multitude; a great aggregate; a mass of people; the generality; the common herd.
  2. A considerable number.



many (comparative more, superlative most)

  1. A large number of; numerous.
    • 1864–65, Dickens, Charles, chapter 15, in Our Mutual Friend:
      I did it in a moment of conceit and folly—one of my many such moments—one of my many such hours—years.
    • 2008 January/February, Fallows, James, “The $1.4 Trillion Question”, in The Atlantic Monthly[1]:
      Let’s take these fears about a rich, strong China to their logical extreme. The U.S. and Chinese governments are always disagreeing—about trade, foreign policy, the environment. Someday the disagreement could be severe. Taiwan, Tibet, North Korea, Iran—the possibilities are many, though Taiwan always heads the list.



  • many at OneLook Dictionary Search





  1. (personal) you
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