multitude


multitude
multitude, army, host, legion mean, both in the singular and plural, a very large number of persons or things. They do not (as do the words compared at CROWD) necessarily imply assemblage, but all of them can be used with that implication.
Multitude stresses numerousness with respect to what is the standard for or the test of numerousness in the thing referred to; thus, in "that child always asks a multitude of questions" and "I never saw such a multitude of books before in one house" multitude obviously refers to a much smaller number in the first than in the second illustration
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we must not . . . expect systematic education to produce multitudes of highly cultivated and symmetrically developed persons— Eliot

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When applied to a group of persons taken as a whole, multitude suggests an assemblage of a large number of persons
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moved his arms with large pawing gestures, as though he were distributing lay blessings to a kneeling multitudeWharton

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but multitude with a definite article suggests the masses of ordinary people or the populace
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speeches that sway the multitude

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a book that appeals to the multitude

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both scorns and seeks the understanding and approbation of the multitudeKnight

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Army usually adds to multitude the implications of orderly arrangement without a suggestion of crowding and often, especially in clearly figurative use, a progressive advance without any suggestion of halting or gathering
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they were served by a vast army of waiters

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an army of locusts

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we have considered science as a steadily advancing army of ascertained facts— Inge

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he discovered around him ... a world whose existence he had neither known nor suspected, the army of persons who know no routine labor— Purdy

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Host has for its primary implication numerousness. It may mean nothing more
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she has a host of admirers

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he knows hosts of people

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the burning of hosts of unfortunate old women—and sometimes young ones—as witches— Cobban

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but it may suggest more strongly than any of the other words a concentration in great numbers of the thing referred to; in such cases it often connotes an impressive or striking array
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a clear,, cold night and a host of stars in the sky

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I saw a crowd, a host, of golden daffodils— Wordsworth

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a host of exquisite creations, the expression of a great artist's subtle vision and faultless technique— Read

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a very uneasy division, giving rise to a host of perplexities whose consideration has occupied the intervening centuries— Whitehead

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Legion in general use retains little suggestion of its basic application to the chief unit of the Roman army and but little more of its scriptural uses; typically it applies to an indefinitely or incalculably large number
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the windy arguments of this legion of aberrants— McComas

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the legion of animal owners is also rising fast— Investor's Reader

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a legion of friends hastened to his support— W. B. Parker

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armies of angels that soar, legions of demons that lurk— Browning

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Analogous words: horde, throng, press, mob, crush, *crowd

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

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  • multitude — [ myltityd ] n. f. • XIIe; lat. multitudo 1 ♦ Grande quantité (d êtres, d objets) considérée ou non comme constituant un ensemble. Une multitude de clients entra (ou entrèrent). ⇒ armée, essaim, flot, légion, nuée; fam. flopée, tas. « Cette… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Multitude — is a political term first used by Machiavelli and reiterated by Spinoza. Recently the term has returned to prominence because of its conceptualization as a new model of resistance against the global capitalist system as described by political… …   Wikipedia

  • Multitude — ist ein Begriff aus der politischen Philosophie. In der aktuellen Diskussion spielt er vor allem im Postoperaismus eine wichtige Rolle. Bekannt wurde der Begriff durch das Buch Empire – die neue Weltordnung von Antonio Negri und Michael Hardt… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Multitude — Mul ti*tude, n. [F. multitude, L. multitudo, multitudinis, fr. multus much, many; of unknown origin.] 1. A great number of persons collected together; a numerous collection of persons; a crowd; an assembly. [1913 Webster] But when he saw the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • multitude — Multitude, f. penac. Est quantité et assemblée de gens, Multitudo, Agmen, Turba. Une grande multitude bien espesse, Nubes peditum. Grande multitude de gens, Longus ordo. Multitude et grande assemblée, Socialitas. Une multitude de plusieurs sortes …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • multitude — Multitude. s. f. Grand nombre. Multitude innombrable d hommes, d animaux, de livres, d argent &c. une grande multitude de peuple. la multitude l a emporté sur le petit nombre des Juges. ceder à la multitude. Il se prend quelquefois pour le peuple …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • multitude — (n.) early 14c., from O.Fr. multitude (12c.) and directly from L. multitudinem (nom. multitudo) a great number, a crowd; the crowd, the common people, from multus many, much (see MULTI (Cf. multi )) + suffix tudo (see TUDE (Cf. tude)). Related:… …   Etymology dictionary

  • multitude — ► NOUN 1) a large number of people or things. 2) (the multitude) the mass of ordinary people. ORIGIN Latin multitudo, from multus many …   English terms dictionary

  • multitude — I noun abundance, accumulation, aggregation, amassment, army, array, assemblage, assembly, band, bevy, body, cluster, collection, conglomeration, congregation, covey, crowd, cumulation, drove, flock, force, gathering, herd, horde, host, legion,… …   Law dictionary

  • multitude — [n] large group aggregation, army, assemblage, assembly, collection, commonalty, concourse, congregation, crowd, crush, drove, great number, heap, herd, horde, host, infinitude, infinity, jam*, legion, loads, lot, lots*, majority, mass, mob, much …   New thesaurus