\ 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

Madonna’s Jean Paul Gaultier look not only paid homage to her role in popularizing religious iconography in fashion, but reunited her with her longtime fashion collaborator, Gaultier, the creative genius behind her infamous cone bra corset. Cady Lang, Time, "Madonna's 2018 Met Gala Dress Is Just Like a Prayer," 8 May 2018 Locals often walk downtown for an ice cream cone or cup of coffee, even after dark, Drennan says. Birmingham Magazine,, "A History of Homewood," 19 Feb. 2018 Update, 4/14/2017: After a car full of insensitive jerks fat shamed her for celebrating her 120-pound weight loss with an ice cream cone, Shauna Arocho has been doing just fine. Sarah Schreiber, Good Housekeeping, "[UPDATE]: The Woman Who Was Fat Shamed at Dairy Queen Got Treated to a Major Shopping Spree," 14 Apr. 2017 In Indianapolis, local officials created a wide cone of silence by requiring about 400 people to sign NDAs. Scott Calvert, WSJ, "After Amazon HQ2, Some Lawmakers Question Nondisclosure Requirements," 26 Nov. 2018 Top with a doughnut and cover in green buttercream, then place a cone on top of each doughnut. Woman's Day Test Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Frankenstein and His Bride Cupcakes," 2 Oct. 2018 Unicorn Marshmallow Cones: Cotton candy marshmallow is piped into a cone dipped in white chocolate and coated with sprinkles, then topped with more white chocolate, sprinkles and a striped straw. Kellie Hwang, azcentral, "6 places for over-the-top, Instagram-worthy unicorn treats in Phoenix," 11 July 2018 Willie is now on the mend, hobbling on his three strong legs while wearing a cone to keep him from chewing on the staples in his surgically repaired one, and Home Free has a promising lead on a new owner. Hillary Davis,, "Coming to the rescue: Newport resident’s dog food company starts nonprofit to get homeless dogs veterinary care," 7 July 2018 Investigators later placed at least 10 green evidence cones near his body. Marie Simoneaux,, "Man wanted in Mother's Day shooting that killed man, wounded teen girl, turns himself in: NOPD," 1 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cone

Statistics for cone

Last Updated

10 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cone

The first known use of cone was in 1545

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on cone

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cone

Spanish Central: Translation of cone

Nglish: Translation of cone for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cone for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about cone

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).


a person who helps groups work together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Liar, Liar Quiz

  • alt-5761dbe2ba986
  • Someone who pretends to be sick in order to avoid work is a:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!