Unary means "consisting of one element"; is there a word meaning "consisting of more than one element"?

Poly-ary sounds wrong, as does mult-ary...

What is the opposite (in this sense) of unary?

  • 2
    Simply "non-unary"? ai.stanford.edu/~koller/Papers/Grove+al:96a.pdf – Yee-Lum Aug 12 '16 at 23:04
  • 1
    @Yee-Lum: But non-unary allows for nullary (niladic) also. The OP apparently wants n-ary where n > 1. – Drew Aug 12 '16 at 23:09
  • That's true. The title and body seem to be asking slightly different questions, in that case. – Yee-Lum Aug 12 '16 at 23:13
  • @Yee-lum I don't think opposite has such a concrete definition, so I clarified exactly which opposite I meant in the body. – MichaelChirico Aug 13 '16 at 1:28
  • "Plurality" technically fits, but has acquired conflicting meanings over the ages. – Hot Licks Nov 12 '17 at 22:38

The word plurarity does not appear in the dictionary, but if you google it there are quite a few cases of it being used this way.

While plur- is a valid Latin prefix, English words using it usually start with plural-, pluralism for instance.

So I suppose it could be seen as a portmanteau of plural and arity.

In that same sense, a word for n-arity > 1, could be plurary.

  • This is a noun, not an adjective, though for that matter, I'm pretty sure simple plural fits the bill. – MichaelChirico Nov 13 '17 at 1:51
  • @MichaelChirico The word I'm recommending is plurary. See the last sentence. – Sam Washburn Nov 13 '17 at 1:53
  • 1
    Let's just hope the rural juror never has to use that word – MichaelChirico Nov 13 '17 at 1:58
  • @SamWashburn I missed that detail. It's a horrible word, but plurality is in the dictionary. – Simon B Nov 13 '17 at 9:50

You can use multiple-arity if different numbers of arguments are accepted (e.g. a polymorphic function/method), or n-ary if you want to be indefinite about the arity. But I don't know of a term for arity > 1.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arity

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.