Meaning of VARIETY in English


va ‧ ri ‧ e ‧ ty S2 W1 /vəˈraɪəti/ BrE AmE noun ( plural varieties )

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ variable , ↑ variance , ↑ variant , ↑ variety , ↑ variability , ↑ variation ; adjective : ↑ variable ≠ ↑ invariable , ↑ varied , ↑ various ; adverb : ↑ variably ≠ ↑ invariably , ↑ variously ; verb : ↑ vary ]

[ Date: 1500-1600 ; Language: French ; Origin: variété , from Latin varietas , from varius ; ⇨ ↑ various ]

1 . a variety of something a lot of things of the same type that are different from each other in some way:

The girls come from a variety of different backgrounds.


If you are using a variety of before a plural noun, it is better to use a plural verb, although a singular verb is sometimes used:

A variety of techniques were used.

2 . [uncountable] the differences within a group, set of actions etc that make it interesting:

I really like the variety the store has to offer.

give/add/bring variety (to something) (=make something more interesting)

Occasionally working from home adds variety to a job.

3 . [countable] a type of thing, such as a plant or animal, that is different from others in the same group

variety of

The lake has more than 20 varieties of fish.

4 . [countable usually singular] a particular type of person or thing – often used humorously

of the ... variety

Lon has no patience with anything of the child variety.

5 . variety is the spice of life used to say that doing a lot of different things, meeting different people etc is what makes life interesting

• • •


■ adjectives

▪ a wide/great/large variety

They hold debates on a wide variety of topics.

▪ a huge/enormous variety

Fruit is eaten by a huge variety of animals and birds.

▪ an infinite/endless variety

There is a seemingly infinite variety of beers to choose from.

▪ a rich variety

A rich variety of plants grow here.

▪ a bewildering variety (=so many that you feel confused)

There is a bewildering variety of roses to choose from.

▪ an amazing variety

The market has an amazing variety of fresh fish.

• • •


▪ type/kind/sort one member of a group of people or things that have similar features or qualities. Type is the usual word to use in scientific or technical contexts. In everyday English, people usually use kind or sort :

What type of fish is this?


There are two main personality types.

▪ kind a type of person or thing. Kind is less formal than type , and is used especially in everyday English:

What kind of food do you like?


There were all kinds of people there.


The study is the first of its kind in Ireland.

▪ sort especially British English a type of person or thing. Sort is less formal than type , and is used especially in everyday British English:

What sort of person is she?


I like all sorts of music.

▪ form one type of something from all the ones that are possible – used especially when things have different physical characteristics, or in certain fixed phrases:

There are many forms of heart disease.


Melanoma is a form of skin cancer.


The first primitive life forms consumed various materials, including hydrogen sulfide, and released oxygen.


In those days, horses were the commonest form of transport.


We need to use alternative forms of energy.


a popular form of entertainment

▪ variety a type that is slightly different from others in the same group:

The French make many varieties of cheese.


This is a new variety of apple.

▪ species a type of plant or animal, which can breed together to produce plants or animals of the same type:

These forests contain many species of trees.


The giant panda is an endangered species.

▪ of a ... nature formal used when talking about a particular type of thing:

Many people find it embarrassing to discuss problems of a sexual nature.


Minor incidents of this nature normally occur about once a month.

▪ category a group of people or things that are all of the same type – used when there is a clear system for deciding which group something belongs to:

The three major categories of rock are: igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary.


She won the best actress category at the Oscars.

▪ brand used when talking about the particular way that someone does something or thinks about something, when this is very different from that of other people:

She has her own special brand of humour.


He has called for a more positive brand of politics.

▪ genre formal a type of art, music, literature etc. that has a particular style or feature:

He has written novels in several genres, most notably science fiction.

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