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[vuh-rahy-i-tee] /vəˈraɪ ɪ ti/
noun, plural varieties.
the state of being varied or diversified:
to give variety to a diet.
difference; discrepancy.
a number of different types of things, especially ones in the same general category:
a large variety of fruits.
a kind or sort.
a different form, condition, or phase of something:
varieties of pastry; a variety of economic reforms.
a category within a species, based on some hereditary difference.
a type of animal or plant produced by artificial selection.
Philately. a stamp differing from others of the same issue through an accident other than an error of an artist or printer.
Compare error (def 8), freak1 (def 5).
Also called variety show. entertainment of mixed character, consisting of a number of individual performances or acts, as of singing, dancing, or skits.
Compare vaudeville (def 1).
of, relating to, or characteristic of a variety:
a variety performer.
Origin of variety
1525-35; < Latin varietās, equivalent to vari(us) various + -etās, variant of -itās -ity after a vowel
Related forms
nonvariety, noun, plural nonvarieties.
overvariety, noun
subvariety, noun, plural subvarieties.
1. diversity, multiplicity. 3. assortment, collection, group. 5. kind, sort, class, species.
1. sameness.
Usage note
3, 5. As a collective noun, variety, when preceded by a, is often treated as a plural: A variety of inexpensive goods are sold here. When preceded by the, it is usually treated as a singular: The variety of products is small. See also collective noun, number. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for varieties
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • You cannot deceive me regarding the varieties of fish that come in cans.

    Cobb's Bill-of-Fare Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb
  • The genus has two varieties: good providers and bad providers.

    The Devil's Dictionary Ambrose Bierce
  • There are four or five varieties, but no preference has been given to any particular one.

    Soil Culture J. H. Walden
  • Here all the varieties of his studies come into play, as it were, spontaneously.

  • The flowers of all the varieties are showy, either in masses or planted in a border.

British Dictionary definitions for varieties


noun (pl) -ties
the quality or condition of being diversified or various
a collection of unlike things, esp of the same general group; assortment
a different form or kind within a general category; sort: varieties of behaviour
  1. (taxonomy) a race whose distinct characters are insufficient to justify classification as a separate species; a subspecies
  2. (horticulture, stockbreeding) a strain of animal or plant produced by artificial breeding
  1. entertainment consisting of a series of short unrelated performances or acts, such as comedy turns, songs, dances, sketches, etc
  2. (as modifier): a variety show
Word Origin
C16: from Latin varietās, from various
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 varieties



1530s, from Middle French variété, from Latin varietatem (nominative varietas) "difference, diversity," from varius "various" (see vary). In reference to "music hall or theatrical performances of a mixed nature," first recorded 1868, American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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