February 16, 2013
variety (noun)
\vuh-RYE-uh-tee\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : the quality or state of having different forms or types2 : a number or collection of different things : assortment3 a : something differing from others of the class to which it belongs b : any of various groups of plants or animals within a species that are separated from other groups by characteristics not constant enough or too unimportant to separate species
How do you use it?
Nora took both round and square beads in a variety of colors and strung them together for a necklace she would give to her mother.
Are you a word wiz?

"Variety" is related through a Latin ancestor to a few other English words. We've listed three relatives below. Which one of the following words do you think is NOT related to "variety"?

Of the various answers, answer B is the right one. "Varsity" is an altered and shortened form of "university." Like "variety," however, "vary," "various," and "variegate" trace to the Latin "varius," meaning "various." "Variety" traveled from Latin and through French before finding its way into English in the 15th century. Of the other descendants of "varius," "vary" is the oldest, dating to the 14th century; "various" is about the same age as "variety"; and "variegate" is the youngest, having entered English in the mid-17th century.
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