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From Middle English arrayen, from Anglo-Norman arraier (compare Old French arraier, areer (to put in order)), from Medieval Latin arrēdō (to put in order, arrange, array), from *rēdum (preparation, order), from Frankish *raid or *raidā (preparation, order) or Gothic 𐌲𐌰𐍂𐌰𐌹𐌸𐍃 (garaiþs, ready, prepared), from Proto-Germanic *raidaz, *raidiz (ready). Compare Old English rād (condition, stipulation), Old High German antreitī (order, rank). Doublet of ready.



array (countable and uncountable, plural arrays)

  1. Clothing and ornamentation.
  2. A collection laid out to be viewed in full.
    • 1788 June, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, “Mr. Sheridan’s Speech, on Summing Up the Evidence on the Second, or Begum Charge against Warren Hastings, Esq., Delivered before the High Court of Parliament, June 1788”, in Select Speeches, Forensick and Parliamentary, with Prefatory Remarks by N[athaniel] Chapman, M.D., volume I, [Philadelphia, Pa.]: Published by Hopkins and Earle, no. 170, Market Street, published 1808, →OCLC, page 474:
      The Begums' ministers, on the contrary, to extort from them the disclosure of the place which concealed the treasures, were, [] after being fettered and imprisoned, led out on to a scaffold, and this array of terrours proving unavailing, the meek tempered Middleton, as a dernier resort, menaced them with a confinement in the fortress of Chunargar. Thus, my lords, was a British garrison made the climax of cruelties!
    • 2002, David L. Thompson, “River of Memories -An Appalachian Boyhood”, in (Please provide the book title or journal name), page 69:
      Upon leaving the center, I photographed the colorful array of petunias decorating the square in purple, pink, yellow, white, and magenta.
  3. An orderly series, arrangement or sequence.
    • 1855–1858, William H[ickling] Prescott, History of the Reign of Philip the Second, King of Spain, volumes (please specify |volume=I to III), Boston, Mass.: Phillips, Sampson, and Company, →OCLC:
      But the chivalry of France was represented by as gallant an array of nobles and cavaliers as ever fought under the banner of the lilies
  4. Order; a regular and imposing arrangement; disposition in regular lines; hence, order of battle.
    drawn up in battle array
  5. A large collection.
    We offer a dazzling array of choices.
    • 1814, Lord Byron, “Canto III”, in The Corsair, a Tale, London: [] Thomas Davison, [], for John Murray, [], →OCLC, stanza I, page 64, lines 1218–1211:
      Again his waves in milder tints unfold / Their long array of sapphire and of gold, / Mixt with the shades of many a distant isle, / That frown—where gentler ocean seems to smile.
    • 2011 October 23, Phil McNulty, “Man Utd 1 - 6 Man City”, in BBC Sport[3]:
      Mario Balotelli, in the headlines for accidentally setting his house ablaze with fireworks, put City on their way with goals either side of the interval as United struggled to contain the array of attacking talent in front of them.
  6. (mathematics) A matrix.
  7. (programming) Any of various data structures designed to hold multiple elements of the same type; especially, a data structure that holds these elements in adjacent memory locations so that they may be retrieved using numeric indices.
  8. (law) A ranking or setting forth in order, by the proper officer, of a jury as impanelled in a cause; the panel itself; or the whole body of jurors summoned to attend the court.
  9. (military) A militia.
  10. A group of hedgehogs.[1]
  11. A microarray.

Usage notes[edit]

  • (any of various data structures): The exact usage of the term array, and of related terms, generally depends on the programming language. For example, many languages distinguish a fairly low-level "array" construct from a higher-level "list" or "vector" construct. Some languages distinguish between an "array" and a variety of "associative array"; others have only the latter concept, calling it an "array".


  • (antonym(s) of "orderly series"): disarray


mathematics: Hyponyms of array
programming: Hyponyms of array
technology: Hyponyms of array
unsorted hyponyms

Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ “AskOxford: H”, in archived copy of Collective Terms for Groups of Animals[1], Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2019 December 23 (last accessed), archived from the original on June 16, 2006


array (third-person singular simple present arrays, present participle arraying, simple past and past participle arrayed)

  1. To clothe and ornament; to adorn or attire.
    He was arrayed in his finest robes and jewels.
  2. To lay out in an orderly arrangement; to deploy or marshal.
  3. (law) To set in order, as a jury, for the trial of a cause; that is, to call them one at a time.





Unadapted borrowing from English array.


array m (plural arrays)

  1. (programming) array (any of various data structures)
    Synonym: vetor