You all know I love Greek words, and plethora (with the syllable stress at the beginning: PLETHora) is one of my favourites.
I thought it might be useful to go through some options for saying ‘many‘ – but in more exciting ways. 🙂
I’ll take you through some possibilities, and try to discuss the terms they collocate with, as well as the register where relevant.
First things first, let’s talk about the meaning of plethora. When I hear it used in meetings, it’s used as a synonym for ‘many, a large amount’, and that’s how I use it too. But it can actually mean an overabundance (i.e. too much of something) as well.
Options for ‘many, a large number’
Apart from plethora, you could use:
- a host of (for example, a host of reasons)
- a raft of (usually something like a raft of measures, proposals, ideas, although I have seen it in the singular as well, which sounds odd to me).
- a range of (used for a set, or things of a similar nature, for example a range of facial expressions, a range of mortgages, a range of proposals, a range of resources, a range of options, a range of opinions). The word range is often used with ‘large’ or ‘wide’.
- an array of (referring to things that are positioned in a certain way, or that generally elicit admiration: an array of food on the table, an array of cameras displayed in the shop). The word array is often used with ‘large’ or ‘wide’.
- a wealth of. This could be positive or negative; you might have a wealth of complaints, a wealth of comments on social media. It’s also often used with singular nouns such as a wealth of experience, a wealth of knowledge, a wealth of potential.
- a myriad of (originally, this meant 10,000, but the meaning has changed over the centuries, and now it just mean ‘a very large amount’).
- in a relatively high register, you could use abundance, profusion, or multitude. These tend to mean a very large number of people or things (e.g. a multitude of questions, a multitude of problems, a profusion of books on this subject, a profusion of articles in the press).
In a completely different register, you could use ‘a ton’ to mean ‘a lot’. This is too informal for many meeting situations.
Options for ‘too many’
If you’re explicitly trying to say there is too much of something, try the following words:
- an excess of
- a surfeit of
- a flood of
- a deluge of
You could have a flood or deluge of something positive (e.g. a flood of compliments), but in the vast majority of cases, the implication is that it’s too many to deal with comfortably.
For example, theguardian.com ran an article titled “How a deluge of money nearly broke the Premier League: It’s the world’s most lucrative football league. But a civil war over all that money came close to toppling it.”