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

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web The storm dumped copious amounts of snow on the Tahoe region, delivering an especially heavy load of powder to ski resorts, including Palisades Tahoe, which had 67 inches over three days, Sierra at Tahoe with 63 inches and Sugar Bowl with 62 inches. Michael Cabanatuan, San Francisco Chronicle, 1 Mar. 2023 The tour was, like many in those days, fueled by copious amounts of cocaine. Matt Wake |, al, 27 Feb. 2023 Another major factor in its appeal is its copious amounts of coupon codes and sales. Eleanor Pringle, Fortune, 20 Feb. 2023 Chaga mushrooms possess copious amounts of antioxidants, which work to protect our cells and keep a healthy immune system. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 2 Feb. 2023 The city had been partying since early January when Carnival season kicked off, treating visitors from around the country to a steady stream of parades and copious amounts of king cake. Jane Onyanga-omara Steve Coogan Usa Today, USA TODAY, 22 Feb. 2023 On Tuesday, Buttigieg announced reforms, including requiring at least two crew members for most railroad operations, and initiating a safety inspection program focused on routes that carry copious amounts of hazardous materials. Staff Writer Follow, Los Angeles Times, 22 Feb. 2023 For example, Bottega Veneta’s ultra-luxe pair comes pre-belted with copious amounts of leg room, like a business class seat for your legs. Jake Woolf, Robb Report, 9 Feb. 2023 As this image conveys copious objective data, a spacefaring species might well be able to easily interpret it. Doug Adler, Discover Magazine, 27 Aug. 2018 See More

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

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 22 Mar. 2023.

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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