many a

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many a

  1. (poetic) Being one of a large number, each one of many; belonging to an aggregate or category, considered singly as one of a kind.
    • 1608–1641, Guillaume de Salluste Du Bartas, Theron Wilber Haight, editor, The Divine Weeks of Josuah Sylvester, Waukesha, Wis., USA: H. M. Youmans, published 1908, page 150:
      Know then that God, to the end He be not thought, / A powerless judge, here plagueth many a fault, / And many a fault leaves here unpunished, / That men may also His last judgment dread.
    • 1908 April 11, “The Coal-Miners and the Wage-Scale”, in The Literary Digest, volume 36, number 15, page 507:
      If the 250,000 miners, which threaten to stop work, go out on strike there is likely to be many an idle mill beside the water courses and many a factory with silent spindles.
    • 1908, W[illiam] B[lair] M[orton] Ferguson, chapter IV, in Zollenstein, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 731476803:
      So this was my future home, I thought! Certainly it made a brave picture. I had seen similar ones fired-in on many a Heidelberg stein. Backed by towering hills, [] a sky of palest Gobelin flecked with fat, fleecy little clouds, it in truth looked a dear little city; the city of one's dreams.
    • 1914, David Lloyd George, The Great War, Hodder and Stoughton, Limited, Toronto, page 3:
      Many a crime has being committed in its name: there are some being committed now.
    • 2017 January 19, Peter Bradshaw, “T2 Trainspotting review—choose a sequel that doesn't disappoint”, in The Guardian[1]:
      Danny Boyle's T2 Trainspotting is everything I could reasonably have hoped for—scary, funny, desperately sad, with many a bold visual flourish.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Many a or an is followed by a singular noun. If the resulting noun phrase is used as the grammatical subject of a clause, the verb it controls is also singular (the idiom is distributive rather than aggregate in sense). The use of a versus an follows the usage notes detailed for the article an.


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