Proper use of 'myriad'

I was taught that when using the word ‘myriad’ one does not precede it with an ‘a’ nor follow it with an “of”. So, ‘there are myriad stars in the night sky’ is correct whereas, ‘there are a myriad of stars in the night sky’ is incorrect. FWIW, I, myself, adhere to this ‘rule’, but have grown used to the fact that the majority of people do not.

That being said, over the last couple of years or so, it’s been my observation that ‘myriad’ is being used in the incorrect way (defined as above) even more frequently. Further, and providing the impetus for this post, it’s my belief that over the same interval even individuals whom I would have presumed to be knowledgeable and sophisticated are also using myriad in this way.

So, my question (finally!) - often it seems to be the case that when a rule of speech or grammar is being routinely ignored, the resulting common, ostensibly incorrect usage gains “official” sanction or at least tolerance (e.g. by the OED or similar). Some example of this phenomenon are the growing acceptance of the word ‘irregardless’, the use of ‘impact’ as a verb, and the contemporary tolerance for split infinitives. Has this happened with respect to ‘myriad’? Has the widespread repudiation of its supposed usage rule ultimately led to its abandonment? Or, perhaps I’m wrong and the ‘rule’ above is simply a guideline, and, thus, one may, in fact, use myriad with an ‘a’ and an ‘of’?


Both are correct. Originally “myriad” ment 10,000. It has since come to have the meaning “number too large to be conveniently counted” - “uncountably” in its metaphorical sense. It is used both as a noun and an adjective.

The usage note here should be helpful.

So the noun usage appears to be the more dominant one throughout the history of English. I personally use it most often as a noun, as in “a myriad of.” The adjectival construction sounds a little flowery to my ears.

Wow, I did not know that! Many thanks.

How many?


Why a myriad of course!

(Or, myriad course ;))