\ˈkōn \

Definition of cone 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a solid generated by rotating a right triangle about one of its legs

called also right circular cone

b : a solid bounded by a circular or other closed plane base and the surface formed by line segments joining every point of the boundary of the base to a common vertex — see Volume Formulas Table

c : a surface traced by a moving straight line passing through a fixed vertex

2a : a mass of ovule-bearing or pollen-bearing scales or bracts in most conifers or in cycads that are arranged usually on a somewhat elongated axis

b : any of several flower or fruit clusters suggesting a cone

3 : something that resembles a cone in shape: such as

a : any of the conical photosensitive receptor cells of the vertebrate retina that function in color vision — compare rod sense 3

b : any of a family (Conidae) of tropical marine gastropod mollusks that inject their prey with a potent toxin

c : the apex of a volcano

d : a crisp usually cone-shaped wafer for holding ice cream


coned; coning

Definition of cone (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to make cone-shaped

2 : to bevel like the slanting surface of a cone cone a tire

Illustration of cone

Illustration of cone


cone 2a: 1 Sitka spruce, 2 Japanese cedar, 3 giant sequoia, 4 white spruce, 5 redwood, 6 lodgepole pine, 7 Douglas fir, 8 bald cypress, 9 jack pine

In the meaning defined above

Examples of cone in a Sentence


He scooped out the popcorn with a paper cone.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Meghan Markle eats fries, drinks wine, and indulges in the occasional ice cream cone—because what is life without a treat here or there? Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle's Royal Wedding Diet and Workout Routine," 11 Apr. 2018 Leave them standing in the meadow or prairie until spring—birds (including goldfinches) love the seeds, and the cones will remain showy through winter. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "A Quick Guide To Growing Stunning Black-Eyed Susans And Coneflowers," 9 Feb. 2018 The autumnal cones double as handy place card holders for each setting. Elle Decor Editors, ELLE Decor, "20+ Sophisticated Thanksgiving Table Decor Ideas," 31 Oct. 2017 One scoop will cost $3 with an additional $2.50 for the cone. Audrey Gorden, RedEye Chicago, "10 of Chicago's most Instagrammable food and drinks to feed yourself and your followers," 25 Aug. 2017 On National Ice Cream Day, this NYC spot will be giving out complimentary mini ice cream cones during brunch. Olivia Harrison,, "Here's Where To Get Free Ice Cream This Month," 9 July 2018 And critically, the beam can be manipulated into a cone shape, creating an effective field that can knock out multiple UAVs with an energy cost of less than $1 per kill. Alexander George, Popular Mechanics, "Stopping Killer Drone Swarms Before They Kill Us," 5 July 2018 The restaurant chain became a key customer for Maryland Cup, which began as an ice cream cone bakery in Boston. Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, "Disposable America," 21 June 2018 Ten minutes later, Foonski let out a roar, and then whistled a pine cone over my head in response. Tom Stienstra,, "At summer campsite, cute squirrels can go rogue," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

For years, the bridge district had allowed the annual marathon to cone off two of the northbound lanes to accommodate the popular run. Matier & Ross,, "This month’s SF Marathon runs into obstacle at Golden Gate Bridge," 1 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cone.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cone


1545, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1845, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cone


Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin conus, from Greek kōnos

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Phrases Related to cone

cone off

Statistics for cone

Last Updated

3 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cone

The first known use of cone was in 1545

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More Definitions for cone



English Language Learners Definition of cone

: a shape that has a pointed top and sides that form a circle at the bottom

: a hard and dry part that is the fruit of a pine tree or other evergreen plant and contains many seeds

: something that looks like a cone


\ˈkōn \

Kids Definition of cone

1 : a thin crisp cookie shaped to hold ice cream

2 : a scaly structure of certain trees (as the pine or fir) that produces pollen or egg cells and seeds

3 : a shape with a circular base and sides that taper evenly to a point

4 : a cell of the retina of the eye that is sensitive to colored light


\ˈkōn \

Medical Definition of cone 

1 : a solid having a circular base and sides that slope evenly to a point

2a : any of the conical photosensitive receptor cells of the vertebrate retina that function in color vision — compare rod

b : any of a family (Conidae) of numerous somewhat conical tropical gastropod mollusks that include a few highly poisonous forms — see conus

3 : a cusp of a tooth especially in the upper jaw

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Comments on cone

What made you want to look up cone? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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