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3 definitions found
 for variety
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Variety \Va*ri"e*ty\, n.; pl. Varieties. [L. varietas: cf. F.
     vari['e]t['e]. See Various.]
     [1913 Webster]
     1. The quality or state of being various; intermixture or
        succession of different things; diversity;
        [1913 Webster]
              Variety is nothing else but a continued novelty.
        [1913 Webster]
              The variety of colors depends upon the composition
              of light.                             --Sir I.
        [1913 Webster]
              For earth hath this variety from heaven. --Milton.
        [1913 Webster]
              There is a variety in the tempers of good men.
        [1913 Webster]
     2. That which is various. Specifically: 
        [1913 Webster]
        (a) A number or collection of different things; a varied
            assortment; as, a variety of cottons and silks.
            [1913 Webster]
                  He . . . wants more time to do that variety of
                  good which his soul thirsts after. --Law.
            [1913 Webster]
        (b) Something varying or differing from others of the same
            general kind; one of a number of things that are akin;
            a sort; as, varieties of wood, land, rocks, etc.
            [1913 Webster]
        (c) (Biol.) An individual, or group of individuals, of a
            species differing from the rest in some one or more of
            the characteristics typical of the species, and
            capable either of perpetuating itself for a period, or
            of being perpetuated by artificial means; hence, a
            subdivision, or peculiar form, of a species.
            [1913 Webster]
     Note: Varieties usually differ from species in that any two,
           however unlike, will generally propagate indefinitely
           (unless they are in their nature unfertile, as some
           varieties of rose and other cultivated plants); in
           being a result of climate, food, or other extrinsic
           conditions or influences, but generally by a sudden,
           rather than a gradual, development; and in tending in
           many cases to lose their distinctive peculiarities when
           the individuals are left to a state of nature, and
           especially if restored to the conditions that are
           natural to typical individuals of the species. Many
           varieties of domesticated animals and of cultivated
           plants have been directly produced by man.
           [1913 Webster]
        (d) In inorganic nature, one of those forms in which a
            species may occur, which differ in minor
            characteristics of structure, color, purity of
            composition, etc.
            [1913 Webster]
     Note: These may be viewed as variations from the typical
           species in its most perfect and purest form, or, as is
           more commonly the case, all the forms, including the
           latter, may rank as Varieties. Thus, the sapphire is a
           blue variety, and the ruby a red variety, of corundum;
           again, calcite has many Varieties differing in form and
           structure, as Iceland spar, dogtooth spar, satin spar,
           and also others characterized by the presence of small
           quantities of magnesia, iron, manganese, etc. Still
           again, there are varieties of granite differing in
           structure, as graphic granite, porphyritic granite, and
           other varieties differing in composition, as albitic
           granite, hornblendic, or syenitic, granite, etc.
           [1913 Webster]
     3. (Theaters) Such entertainment as in given in variety
        shows; the production of, or performance in, variety
        shows. [Cant]
        [Webster 1913 Suppl.]
     Geographical variety (Biol.), a variety of any species
        which is coincident with a geographical region, and is
        usually dependent upon, or caused by, peculiarities of
     Variety hybrid (Biol.), a cross between two individuals of
        different varieties of the same species; a mongrel.
        [1913 Webster]
     Syn: Diversity; difference; kind.
     Usage: Variety, Diversity. A man has a variety of
            employments when he does many things which are not a
            mere repetition of the same act; he has a diversity of
            employments when the several acts performed are unlike
            each other, that is, diverse. In most cases, where
            there is variety there will be more or less of
            diversity, but not always. One who sells railroad
            tickets performs a great variety of acts in a day,
            while there is but little diversity in his employment.
            [1913 Webster]
                  All sorts are here that all the earth yields!
                  Variety without end.              --Milton.
            [1913 Webster]
                  But see in all corporeal nature's scene,
                  What changes, what diversities, have been!
            [1913 Webster]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

      n 1: a collection containing a variety of sorts of things; "a
           great assortment of cars was on display"; "he had a variety
           of disorders"; "a veritable smorgasbord of religions" [syn:
           assortment, mixture, mixed bag, miscellany,
           miscellanea, variety, salmagundi, smorgasbord,
           potpourri, motley]
      2: noticeable heterogeneity; "a diversity of possibilities";
         "the range and variety of his work is amazing" [syn:
         diverseness, diversity, multifariousness, variety]
      3: (biology) a taxonomic category consisting of members of a
         species that differ from others of the same species in minor
         but heritable characteristics; "varieties are frequently
         recognized in botany"
      4: a show consisting of a series of short unrelated performances
         [syn: variety show, variety]
      5: a category of things distinguished by some common
         characteristic or quality; "sculpture is a form of art";
         "what kinds of desserts are there?" [syn: kind, sort,
         form, variety]
      6: a difference that is usually pleasant; "he goes to France for
         variety"; "it is a refreshing change to meet a woman
         mechanic" [syn: variety, change]

From Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0 :

  302 Moby Thesaurus words for "variety":
     Broadway, Proteus, a certain number, a few, about-face,
     accommodation, adaptation, adjustment, affiliation, allotropism,
     allotropy, alteration, amelioration, apostasy, assortment,
     betterment, biotype, blood, body, branch, brand, break, breed,
     burlesque, capriciousness, cast, category, change, change of heart,
     changeability, changeableness, character, choice, choppiness,
     church, circus, clan, class, classification, collectanea,
     collection, color, communion, community, conglomerate,
     conglomeration, constructive change, continuity, contrariety,
     contrast, conversion, dappleness, defection, degeneration,
     degenerative change, denomination, departure, description,
     designation, desultoriness, deterioration, deviability, deviation,
     difference, differentiation, disaccord, disaccordance,
     disagreement, disconformity, discongruity, discontinuity,
     discordance, discrepancy, discreteness, disorder, disparity,
     dissent, dissimilarity, dissonance, distinction, distinctness,
     divarication, divergence, divergency, diversification, diversion,
     diversity, division, drama, eccentricity, entertainment industry,
     erraticism, faction, family, far cry, feather, fellowship,
     fickleness, fitting, flightiness, flip-flop, form, freakishness,
     genotype, genre, genus, grade, gradual change, grain, group,
     her infinite variety, heterogeneity, heteromorphism, hodgepodge,
     ilk, improvement, impulsiveness, inaccordance, incompatibility,
     incongruity, inconsistency, inconsonance, inconstancy, inequality,
     inharmoniousness, inharmony, instability, irreconcilability,
     irregularity, jerkiness, kidney, kin, kind, kingdom, label, legit,
     legitimate stage, line, lot, make, manifoldness, manner, mark,
     medley, melioration, mercuriality, miscellanea, miscellany,
     mitigation, mix, mixture, modification, modulation, mold,
     moodiness, more, motleyness, multifariousness, multiformity,
     multiplicity, mutability, nature, nonconformism, nonconformity,
     nonstandardization, nonuniformity, nonuniqueness, number,
     numerousness, oddments, odds, odds and ends, off Broadway,
     off-off-Broadway, offshoot, omnifariousness, omniformity,
     omnium-gatherum, opposition, order, organization, otherness,
     overthrow, party, persuasion, phylum, playland, pluralism,
     plurality, pluralness, polymorphism, qualification, race,
     radical change, raggedness, range, rank, re-creation, realignment,
     redesign, reform, reformation, religious order, remaking, renewal,
     repertory drama, reshaping, restlessness, restructuring, reversal,
     revival, revivification, revolution, schism, school, sect,
     sectarism, section, segment, selection, separateness, series,
     several, shape, shapeshifter, shift, shiftiness, show biz,
     show business, society, sort, species, stage world, stagedom,
     stageland, stamp, stock, strain, strawhat, strawhat circuit,
     stripe, style, subclass, subfamily, subgenus, subkingdom, suborder,
     subspecies, subtribe, sudden change, summer stock, sundries,
     superclass, superfamily, superorder, superspecies, switch,
     the boards, the footlights, the like of, the likes of, the scenes,
     the stage, the theater, theater world, theatromania, theatrophobia,
     total change, transition, tribe, turn, turnabout, type,
     uncertainty, unconformism, unconformity, undependability,
     unevenness, unfixedness, unlikeness, unorthodoxy, unpredictability,
     unreliability, unsettledness, unstableness, unsteadfastness,
     unsteadiness, upheaval, variability, variance, variation,
     variegation, variousness, vaudeville, versatility, version,
     violent change, wantonness, wavering, waywardness, whimsicality,

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