Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: infinité



From Latin infīnītus, from in- (not) + fīnis (end) + the perfect passive participle ending -itus.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈɪnfɪnɪt/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈɪnfɪnɪt/, /ˈɪnfənɪt/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: in‧fi‧nite


infinite (comparative more infinite, superlative most infinite)

  1. Indefinably large, countlessly great; immense. [from 14th c.]
    • 1603, Michel de Montaigne, chapter 40, in John Florio, transl., The Essayes, [], book I, printed at London: By Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount [], OCLC 946730821:
      The number is so infinite, that verily it would be an easier matter for me to reckon up those that have feared the same.
    • 1735, Henry Brooke, Universal Beauty
      Whatever is finite, as finite, will admit of no comparative relation with infinity; for whatever is less than infinite is still infinitely distant from infinity; and lower than infinite distance the lowest or least cannot sink.
    • (Can we date this quote by Marlowe and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      infinite riches in a little room
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book 9”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, OCLC 230729554:
      which infinite calamity shall cause to human life
  2. Boundless, endless, without end or limits; innumerable. [from 15th c.]
    • (Can we date this quote?) Bible, Psalms cxlvii. 5
      Great is our Lord, and of great power; his understanding is infinite.
  3. (with plural noun) Infinitely many. [from 15th c.]
    • 2012, Helen Donelan, ‎Karen Kear, ‎Magnus Ramage, Online Communication and Collaboration: A Reader
      Huxley's theory says that if you provide infinite monkeys with infinite typewriters, some monkey somewhere will eventually create a masterpiece – a play by Shakespeare, a Platonic dialogue, or an economic treatise by Adam Smith.
  4. (mathematics) Greater than any positive quantity or magnitude; limitless. [from 17th c.]
  5. (set theory, of a set) Having infinitely many elements.
    • 2009, Brandon C. Look, “Symbolic Logic II, Lecture 2: Set Theory”, in[1], retrieved 2012-11-20:
      For any infinite set, there is a 1-1 correspondence between it and at least one of its proper subsets. For example, there is a 1-1 correspondence between the set of natural numbers and the set of squares of natural numbers, which is a proper subset of the set of natural numbers.
  6. (grammar) Not limited by person or number. [from 19th c.]
  7. (music) Capable of endless repetition; said of certain forms of the canon, also called perpetual fugues, constructed so that their ends lead to their beginnings.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Moore (Encyc. of Music) to this entry?)

Usage notes[edit]

Although the term is incomparable in the precise sense, it can be comparable both in mathematics and set theory to compare different degrees of infinity, and informally to denote yet a larger thing.

Poets (and particularly hymn-writers before the 20th century) would commonly rhyme the word as though pronounced [-ɑɪnɑɪt] and church congregations still on occasion adopt that pronunciation.




Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


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.



  1. Infinitely many.


infinite (plural infinites)

  1. Something that is infinite in nature.
    • 2004, Teun Koetsier, ‎Luc Bergmans, Mathematics and the Divine: A Historical Study (page 449)
      Cautiously, Hobbes avoided asserting the equality of these infinites, and explicitly characterized the relation between them as non-inequality.




  1. Feminine plural of adjective infinito.




  1. vocative masculine singular of īnfīnītus