co·​pi·​ous ˈkō-pē-əs How to pronounce copious (audio)
: yielding something abundantly
a copious harvest
copious springs
: plentiful in number
copious references to other writers
: full of thought, information, or matter
… Shakespeare, whose soul was so copiousGilbert Highet
: profuse or exuberant in words, expression, or style
a copious talker
: present in large quantity : taking place on a large scale
copious weeping
copious food and drink
copiously adverb
copiousness noun

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What's the difference between copious, ample, and plentiful?

Copious dates to the 14th century, during the era of English known as Middle English. Like most terms entering the language then, it comes ultimately from Latin, from the word copia, meaning "abundance." (Cornucopia combines this same root with cornu, meaning "horn," to form the phrase "horn of plenty.") Latin copia combines the prefix co- and -op, * ops, meaning "wealth" or "power." (That asterisk means that ops is assumed to have existed or has been reconstructed by means of comparative evidence.) The latter also features in the history of opulent, meaning "wealthy" or "luxurious."

Choose the Right Synonym for copious

plentiful, ample, abundant, copious mean more than sufficient without being excessive.

plentiful implies a great or rich supply.

peaches are plentiful this summer

ample implies a generous sufficiency to satisfy a particular requirement.

ample food to last the winter

abundant suggests an even greater or richer supply than does plentiful.

streams abundant with fish

copious stresses largeness of supply rather than fullness or richness.

copious examples of bureaucratic waste

Examples of copious in a Sentence

It was no surprise that spin was more copious than ever during the election campaign. Michael Kinsley, Time, 25 Dec. 2000–1 Jan. 2001
These pockets of melted rock are rich in silica and release copious amounts of volatile gases that are held under high pressures. Sandra Blakeslee, New York Times, 7 Apr. 1998
… travelers grew accustomed to having copious helpings of meat when they visited Quimper's inn. James A. Michener, Texas, 1985
The Constants—ignorant, vulgar, and brash—had copious quantities of dumb luck. Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., The Sirens Of Titan, 1959
The storm produced a copious amount of rain. She sat in the front row and took copious notes during the lecture.
Recent Examples on the Web The app contains copious playlists, useful recommendations, and a music store for making purchases. PCMAG, 31 May 2024 The after-after party featured copious amounts of neon lights, a DJ, sweet treats and even a disco saddle hung from the ceiling of the tent. 12 of 12 Into the Wee Hours The couple made an exit in style from the driveway of Harrison's house in a Cadillac Coupe Deville. Tabitha Parent, Peoplemag, 30 May 2024 Fed with copious amounts of manure, the machinery will generate electricity that is sold back to the local utility and dehydrated solids that can be used for cow bedding. Lydia Depillis, New York Times, 30 May 2024 The glorious sun makes this a land of ingredients—of copious olives and sherry (dry fino and amontillado, sunnier oloroso and salty-fresh manzanilla). Lydia Bell, Condé Nast Traveler, 29 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for copious 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'copious.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Latin copiosus, from copia abundance, from co- + ops wealth — more at opulent

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of copious was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near copious

Cite this Entry

“Copious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


co·​pi·​ous ˈkō-pē-əs How to pronounce copious (audio)
: very plentiful
a copious amount of food
copiously adverb
copiousness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on copious

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