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.]
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   1. The quality or state of being various; intermixture or
      succession of different things; diversity;
      multifariousness.
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            Variety is nothing else but a continued novelty.
                                                  --South.
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            The variety of colors depends upon the composition
            of light.                             --Sir I.
                                                  Newton.
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            For earth hath this variety from heaven. --Milton.
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            There is a variety in the tempers of good men.
                                                  --Atterbury.
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   2. That which is various. Specifically: 
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      (a) A number or collection of different things; a varied
          assortment; as, a variety of cottons and silks.
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                He . . . wants more time to do that variety of
                good which his soul thirsts after. --Law.
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      (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.
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      (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.
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   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.
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      (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.
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   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.
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   3. (Theaters) Such entertainment as in given in variety
      shows; the production of, or performance in, variety
      shows. [Cant]
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   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
      climate.

   Variety hybrid (Biol.), a cross between two individuals of
      different varieties of the same species; a mongrel.
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   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.
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                All sorts are here that all the earth yields!
                Variety without end.              --Milton.
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                But see in all corporeal nature's scene,
                What changes, what diversities, have been!
                                                  --Blackmore.
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