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See also: -mány



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

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, The Squire's Daughter, chapterIII:
      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 notesEdit

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






  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 notesEdit

  • 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 termsEdit

Related termsEdit


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.


many (plural manies)

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





  1. (personal) you