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[muhl-tuh-puh l] /ˈmʌl tə pəl/
consisting of, having, or involving several or many individuals, parts, elements, relations, etc.; manifold.
  1. (of circuits) arranged in parallel.
  2. (of a circuit or circuits) having a number of points at which connection can be made.
Botany. (of a fruit) collective.
Mathematics. a number that contains another number an integral number of times without a remainder:
12 is a multiple of 3.
Electricity. a group of terminals arranged to make a circuit or group of circuits accessible at a number of points at any one of which connection can be made.
Origin of multiple
1570-80; < French < Late Latin multiplus manifold. See multi-, duple
Related forms
nonmultiple, adjective, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for multiple
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Enveloped in multiple folds of white, the lovely figure of Maria lay on her bed of kamagon, behind curtains of jusi and piña.

    An Eagle Flight Jos Rizal
  • They were going to fight Pippin's multiple shops and beat them.

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • The unity of darkness contains a multiple, a mysterious plurality—visible in matter, realised in thought.

    Toilers of the Sea Victor Hugo
  • He has abandoned the single hypothesis for the multiple hypothesis.

    The Frontier in American History Frederick Jackson Turner
  • This is a multiple of three, which is a sacred number constantly appearing in the Hindu religious system.

British Dictionary definitions for multiple


having or involving more than one part, individual, etc: he had multiple injuries
(electronics, US & Canadian) (of a circuit) having a number of conductors in parallel
the product of a given number or polynomial and any other one: 6 is a multiple of 2
(telephony) an electrical circuit accessible at a number of points to any one of which a connection can be made
short for multiple store
Derived Forms
multiply, adverb
Word Origin
C17: via French from Late Latin multiplus, from Latin multiplex
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for multiple

1640s, "involving many parts," from French multiple (14c.), from Late Latin multiplus "manifold," from Latin multi- "many, much" (see multi-) + -plus "-fold," (see -fold). The noun is from 1680s, in mathematics, from the adjective. Multiple choice as a type of question attested from 1828. Multiple exposure first recorded 1923.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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multiple in Science
A number that may be divided by another number with no remainder. For example, 4, 10, and 32 are multiples of 2.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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