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See also: variëty


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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle French varieté, from Latin varietās (difference, diversity), from varius (different, various); see various. Displaced native Old English mislīcnes.


  • enPR: və-rīʹĭ-tē, IPA(key): /vəˈɹaɪ.ɪ.ti/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪɪti
  • Hyphenation: va‧ri‧e‧ty


variety (countable and uncountable, plural varieties)

  1. The quality of being varied; diversity.
    • 1983, Richard Ellis, The Book of Sharks, Knopf, →ISBN, page 34:
      The teeth of sharks, for all their variety, share one characteristic, and that is the way in which they are attached.
    Variety is the spice of life.
    Antonym: sameness
  2. A specific variation of something.
  3. A number of different things.
    • 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter IV, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., OCLC 222716698:
      One morning I had been driven to the precarious refuge afforded by the steps of the inn, after rejecting offers from the Celebrity to join him in a variety of amusements. But even here I was not free from interruption, for he was seated on a horse-block below me, playing with a fox terrier.
    • 2013 January 1, Katie L. Burke, “Ecological Dependency”, in American Scientist, volume 101, number 1, page 64:
      In his first book since the 2008 essay collection Natural Acts: A Sidelong View of Science and Nature, David Quammen looks at the natural world from yet another angle: the search for the next human pandemic, what epidemiologists call “the next big one.” His quest leads him around the world to study a variety of suspect zoonoses—animal-hosted pathogens that infect humans.
    Synonyms: array, assortment
  4. A state of constant change.
  5. (taxonomy) A rank in a taxonomic classification, below species (infraspecific), either below subspecies (subspecific) or ranked comparably therewith.
  6. (cybernetics) The total number of distinct states of a system.
  7. (cybernetics) Logarithm of the base 2 of the total number of distinct states of a system.
  8. (linguistics) A term used for a specific form of a language, neutral to whether that form is a dialect, accent, register, etc. and to its prestige level.
    • 2014, James Lambert, “Diachronic stability in Indian English lexis”, in World Englishes, page 114:
      The mere existence of a dictionary of a certain variety of English does not automatically confer acceptance of that variety.
  9. (algebra, universal algebra) An equational class; the class of all algebraic structures of a given signature, satisfying a given set of identities.
  10. (algebraic geometry) An algebraic variety.
  11. The kind of theatrical entertainment given in variety shows.
  12. The production of, or performance in, variety shows.



  • (specific variation of something): cultivar

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