John listed his multifarious interests and activities on his college application.
“The report presents a convincing case that the agency has been stretched too thin in its multifarious duties—from combating counterfeiters and computer criminals to standing guard over presidents present and past and their widows….” — editorial, New York Times, December 29, 2014
Did you know?
Dictionary makers have dated the first appearance of multifarious in print as 1593—and rightly so—but before that time another word similar in form and meaning was being used: multifary, meaning “in many ways” and appearing (and disappearing) in the 15th century. Before either of the English words existed, there was the Medieval Latin word multifarius (same meaning as multifarious), from Latin multifariam, meaning “in many places” or “on many sides.” Multi-, as you may know, is a combining form meaning “many.” A relative of multifarious in English is omnifarious (“of all varieties, forms, or kinds”), created with omni- (“all”) rather than multi-.