Meaning of MANY in English


man ‧ y S1 W1 /ˈmeni/ BrE AmE determiner , pronoun , adjective

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: manig ]

1 . a large number of people or things OPP few ⇨ more , most , much :

Many people have to use a car to travel to work.

I don’t have many friends.

She has lived in Spain for many years.

Do you get many visitors?

Some of the houses have bathrooms but many do not.

His third novel is regarded by many (=a lot of people) as his best.

many of

Many of our staff work part-time.

There are plenty of bars, many of them serving excellent food.

There are so many things we disagree about.

Not many (=only a few) people can afford my services.

You’ve been reading too many romantic novels (=more than you should) .

One job loss is one too many (=one more than is acceptable, needed etc) .

the many people/things etc

We should like to thank the many people who have written to us offering their support.

many hundreds/thousands/millions

military equipment worth many millions of dollars

a great many/a good many/very many (=a very large number)

Most of the young men went off to the war, and a great many never came back.

It all happened a good many years ago.


Many sounds formal in positive statements. In everyday English, people usually say a lot of .

A lot of people use a car to get to work.

There were a lot of people at the wedding.

2 . how many used to ask or talk about how large a number or quantity is:

How many sisters do you have?

I didn’t know how many tickets to buy.

3 . as many a number that is equal to another number:

They say the people of Los Angeles speak 12 languages and teach just as many in the schools.

as many (...) as

Grandfather claimed to have as many medals as the general.

There weren’t as many people at the meeting as we had hoped.

in as many days/weeks/games etc

A great trip! We visited five countries in as many days (=in five days) .

twice/three times etc as many

The company now employs four times as many women as men.

4 . as many as 50/1,000 etc used to emphasize how surprisingly large a number is:

As many as 10,000 civilians are thought to have fled the area.

5 . many a something formal or old-fashioned a large number of people or things:

Many a parent has had to go through this same painful process.

I’ve sat here many a time (=often) and wondered what happened to her.

6 . many’s the time/day etc (that/when) old-fashioned used to say that a particular thing has happened often:

Many’s the time we’ve had to borrow money in order to get through the month.

7 . have had one too many informal to be drunk:

Don’t pay any attention to him – he’s had one too many.

8 . many thanks written used especially in letters to thank someone for something

many thanks for

Many thanks for your letter of 17 March.

9 . the many formal a very large group of people, especially the public in general:

This war is another example of the few sacrificing their lives for the many.

⇨ in as many words at ↑ word 1

• • •


If you are talking about a type of person or thing in general rather than a specific group, do not use 'of' after many :

Many people (NOT Many of people) hate some aspects of their work.

Do not use 'and' after many and before an adjective:

We saw many interesting things (NOT many and interesting things).

• • •


▪ many a large number of people or things – used in everyday English in questions and negative sentences, and after ‘too’ and ‘so’. In formal or written English, you can also use it in other sentences:

There weren’t many people at the meeting.


Did you get many birthday presents?


Many people voted against the proposal.

▪ a lot many. A lot is less formal than many and is the usual phrase to use in everyday English:

A lot of tourists visit Venice in the summer.


The club has a lot more members now.

▪ dozens/hundreds/thousands/millions many – used when you cannot be exact but the number is two dozen or more, two hundred or more etc:

At least five people died and dozens more were injured in a gas explosion.


They’ve wasted thousands of pounds on the project.

▪ a large number of written a lot of a particular type of person or thing:

China plans to build a large number of nuclear power plants.

▪ numerous formal many – used especially when saying that something has happened many times:

We’ve contacted him on numerous occasions.


Numerous studies have shown a link between smoking and lung cancer.

▪ countless/innumerable /ɪˈnjuːm ə rəb ə l $ ɪˈnuː-/ [only before noun] many – used when it is impossible to count or imagine how many. Innumerable is more formal than countless :

He spent countless hours in the gym.


They had been given innumerable warnings.

▪ a host of many – used especially when something seems surprising or impressive:

Age is the biggest risk factor in a host of diseases.


People leave jobs for a whole host of reasons.

▪ a raft of many – used especially when talking about ideas, suggestions, changes in business or politics:

The report made a raft of recommendations.


The new government is planning a whole raft of changes.

▪ quite a few especially spoken a fairly large number of people or things:

We’ve had quite a few problems with the software.


I’ve met quite a few of his friends.

▪ lots informal many:

I’ve invited lots of people.


‘How many cats has she got?’ ‘Lots!’

▪ tons/loads informal many – a very informal use:

I’ve got tons of books.


Have a strawberry – there are loads here.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.