From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishmanyman‧y /ˈmeni/ ●●● S1 W1 determiner, pronoun, adjective 1 LOT/LARGE NUMBER OR AMOUNTa 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 dollarsa 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.RegisterMany 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 many3 → as many4 → as many as 50/1,000 etc5 → many a something6 → many’s the time/day etc (that/when)7 → have had one too many8 → many thanks9 → the many → in as many words at word1GRAMMAR: Patterns with many• You use many before plural nouns to talk about people or things in general: Many people were against the decision.• You say many of the: Many of the houses are empty. ✗Don’t say: many of houses• You say many of my/her/his etc or many of them/us/you: Many of her friends have already left home.Many of them are excellent. • You use many directly before an adjective: We saw many interesting things. ✗Don’t say: We saw many and interesting things.THESAURUSmany 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 sentencesThere 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 EnglishA 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 etcAt 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 thingChina plans to build a large number of nuclear power plants.numerous formal many – used especially when saying that something has happened many timesWe’ve contacted him on numerous occasions.Numerous studies have shown a link between smoking and lung cancer.countless/innumerable /ɪˈnjuːmərəbəl $ ɪˈnuː-/ [only before noun] many – used when it is impossible to count or imagine how many. Innumerable is more formal than countlessHe spent countless hours in the gym.They had been given innumerable warnings.a host of many – used especially when something seems surprising or impressiveAge 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 politicsThe 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 thingsWe’ve had quite a few problems with the software.I’ve met quite a few of his friends.lots informal manyI’ve invited lots of people.‘How many cats has she got?’ ‘Lots!’tons/loads informal many – a very informal useI’ve got tons of books.Have a strawberry – there are loads here.
Examples from the Corpusmany hundreds/thousands/millions• You rarely run into people you know in London; there are too many millions.• That progress was now direly slow, with many hundreds of cattle to herd, however expert some of the herders.• What do the petitions do but name many thousands of folk?• Today, many thousands of men like Michael have died of Aids.• Unfortunately, this is not the case with many millions of people whose backache is worse after even a short drive.• Last year this formula robbed East Cumbria and my constituents of many thousands of pounds.• How could I possibly find mine when there were so many hundreds of them, and so many black ones?• One year they are present, striving instinctively to maintain an existence many thousands of years old.Origin many Old English manig