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Numerous vs. Several: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on October 18, 2023
"Numerous" implies a large indefinite number, while "Several" indicates more than two but not many.

Key Differences

"Numerous" refers to the existence of many elements or units, indicating a substantial quantity, whereas "Several" represents a more modest number, more than a couple but not extending into the high counts that "Numerous" suggests.
"Numerous" is used when the speaker wants to emphasize an abundance or a larger-than-expected quantity, while "Several," though still indicating multiplicity, does not carry the same connotation of abundance.
"Numerous" often implies that the exact number is unknown or unimportant, overshadowed by the fact that it's large; "Several" also suggests an unspecified amount, but the scale is decidedly smaller.
"Numerous" can sometimes be subjective, depending on context, signifying a quantity that might be considered a lot, while "Several" is relatively objective, typically understood as meaning more than two but fewer than many.
"Numerous" and "Several" both serve to denote the presence of more than one of something, but "Numerous" leans towards a larger multitude, and "Several" indicates a more restrained, moderate group.

Comparison Chart


Large number
More than two, but not many


Usually indefinite
Relatively definite


Emphasizes abundance
Doesn't emphasize abundance

Contextual Use

Subjective based on expected quantity
More objective, fixed range


Exact count often unimportant or unknown
Implies a countable, smaller number

Numerous and Several Definitions


Existing in large numbers.
Numerous fans attended the concert.


More than two but fewer than many.
He had several options for lunch.


Abundant, profuse.
They faced numerous challenges.


A few, a small number.
I need to make several stops.


Great in number; many.
She has numerous ideas for the project.


An unspecified small number.
Several people know the secret.


Being one of a large indefinite number.
Numerous opportunities arose.


Individual, distinct.
There are several reasons for this outcome.


Comprising a multitude.
Numerous stars shone in the night sky.


Various, diverse.
She lived in several cities.


Amounting to a large number; many.


Being of a number more than two or three but not many
Several miles away.


Indefinitely large numerically, many.
There are numerous definitions of the word 'man'.


Respectively different; various
They parted and went their several ways.


Consisting of a great number of units or individual objects; being many; as, a numerous army; numerous objections.
Such and so numerous was their chivalry.


(Law) Regarded as separate, especially with regard to tort liability or legal obligation, such that each individual involved is fully responsible for the liability or obligation.


Consisting of poetic numbers; rhythmical; measured and counted; melodious; musical.
Such prompt eloquenceFlowed from their lips, in prose or numerous verse.


(Archaic) Single; distinct
"Pshaw! said I, with an air of carelessness, three several times" (Laurence Sterne).


Amounting to a large indefinite number;
Numerous times
The family was numerous


(obsolete) Separate, distinct; particular.


A number of different; various.


(law) Separable, capable of being treated separately.


Consisting of a number more than two but not very many.
Several cars were in the parking lot.
They had many journals. I subscribed to several.
Several of the members were absent.


By itself; severally.


(obsolete) An area of land in private ownership (as opposed to common land).


Each particular taken singly; an item; a detail; an individual. en


(archaic) An enclosed or separate place; enclosure. en


(archaic) A woman's loose outer garment, capable of being worn as a shawl, or in other forms.


Separate; distinct; particular; single.
Each several ship a victory did gain.
Each might his several province well command,Would all but stoop to what they understand.


Diverse; different; various.
Habits and faculties, several, and to be distinguished.
Four several armies to the field are led.


Consisting of a number more than two, but not very many; divers; sundry; as, several persons were present when the event took place.


By itself; severally.
Every kind of thing is laid up several in barns or storehoudses.


Each particular taken singly; an item; a detail; an individual.
There was not time enough to hear . . . The severals.


Persons oe objects, more than two, but not very many.
Several of them neither rose from any conspicuous family, nor left any behind them.


An inclosed or separate place; inclosure.
They had their several for heathen nations, their several for the people of their own nation.


Considered individually;
The respective club members
Specialists in their several fields
The various reports all agreed


Distinct and individual;
Three several times


(used with count nouns) of an indefinite number more than 2 or 3 but not many;
Several letters came in the mail
Several people were injured in the accident


Does "several" mean seven?

No, it means more than two but not many, unrelated to seven.

Is "numerous" an exaggeration?

Not necessarily; it subjectively indicates a large amount.

Does "numerous" suggest more elements than "several"?

Yes, "numerous" generally implies a larger quantity.

Can "numerous" be a specific number?

It's usually an indefinite large number, not specific.

Is "numerous" always larger than "multiple"?

Context matters, but it often suggests a larger number.

Does "numerous" imply too many?

Not inherently; context determines if it's excessive.

Can "several" imply diversity?

Yes, it can imply varied or distinct elements.

Can "numerous" be used for countable items only?

It's used for both countable and uncountable items.

Does "several" mean separate?

It can mean individual or distinct, not necessarily separate.

Is "several" only used for numbers?

No, it can refer to various or separate items or reasons.

Can "several" refer to people?

Yes, it can refer to a small, unspecified group of people.

How many is "several"?

More than two but not many; the exact number is vague.

Is "several" synonymous with a couple?

No, "several" is more than a couple but not many.

Is "several" vague?

It's unspecified but indicates a countable, moderate amount.

Can "numerous" mean infinite?

No, it suggests a large number, not infinity.

Is there a maximum limit to "numerous"?

It's indefinite, but contextually implies a large number.

Is "numerous" formal?

It's standard in both formal and informal English.

Can "several" be used in formal writing?

Yes, it's appropriate in both formal and informal contexts.

Does "numerous" need to be quantified?

No, it generally indicates an unquantified large number.

Can "several" indicate a large number?

Typically, it suggests a more moderate quantity.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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