cornucopia

noun

cor·​nu·​co·​pia ˌkȯr-nə-ˈkō-pē-ə How to pronounce cornucopia (audio)
-nyə-ˈkō-
1
: a curved, hollow goat's horn or similarly shaped receptacle (such as a horn-shaped basket) that is overflowing especially with fruit and vegetables (such as gourds, ears of corn, apples, and grapes) and that is used as a decorative motif emblematic of abundance

called also horn of plenty

2
: an inexhaustible store : abundance
We marveled at the cornucopia of fruits, meats, toys, fresh fish, baskets, utensils and leather goods for sale in stalls that lined the streets for as far as we could see.Guy Garcia
For contemporary performers, soul represents a cornucopia of musical ideas.Jon Pareles
3
: a receptacle shaped like a horn or cone
cornucopian adjective

Illustration of cornucopia

Illustration of cornucopia
  • cornucopia a

Did you know?

Cornucopia Has Latin Origins and Greek History

Cornucopia comes from the Late Latin cornu copiae, which translates literally as “horn of plenty.” A traditional staple of feasts, the cornucopia is believed to represent the horn of a goat from Greek mythology. According to legend, it was from this horn, which could be filled with whatever the owner wished, that the god Zeus was fed as an infant by his nurse, the nymph Amalthaea. Later, the horn was filled with flowers and fruits, and given as a present to Zeus. The filled horn (or a receptacle resembling it) has long served as a traditional symbol in art and decoration to suggest a store of abundance. The word first appeared in English in the early 16th century; a century later, it developed the figurative sense of “an overflowing supply.”

Examples of cornucopia in a Sentence

The market is a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables. The book includes a cornucopia of wonderful stories.
Recent Examples on the Web Colorful cornucopias of tomatoes, okra, squashes, peppers, berries, and more, are ripe for the picking and combined with a noodle base to tie them all together, ready to dazzle your dinner table. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 16 Feb. 2024 And what a cornucopia of strange items are on offer: night vision sunglasses; an endoscopic camera light; a big toe straightener; and bionic leaf disguise uniform. Drew Bernstein, Forbes, 15 Feb. 2024 Fuller’s cornucopia of ideas ranges from the Simply Savory Perfect Pear Tart and Butternut Because Soup to Pot Roast Done Easy and Farmer’s Favorite Molasses Ginger Cookies. Compiled By Elaine Rogers, Stephanie Allmon Merry and Celeste Williams, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 30 Jan. 2024 Past the Bel Air gymnasium at his left and a row of athletic offices to the right, is a shiny, weight-lifting cornucopia. Sam Cohn, Baltimore Sun, 12 Jan. 2024 The track chronicles the cornucopia of grudges Margera has been holding against his crude companions. Brittany Vincent, EW.com, 25 July 2023 Alexandra Hill, an assistant professor at UC Berkeley, concluded that many workers who had hoped for a cornucopia of overtime pay saw their incomes reduced when employers limited them to 40 hours a week. Dan Walters, The Mercury News, 1 Jan. 2024 On a visit, our reporting team found friendly conversation, vibrant color, and a cornucopia of culinary delights. Sara Miller Llana, The Christian Science Monitor, 8 Dec. 2023 To make the trip even tastier, Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival runs at the same time, offering a cornucopia of seasonal delights from across the globe. Carly Caramanna, Travel + Leisure, 9 Aug. 2023 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Late Latin, from Latin cornu copiae horn of plenty

First Known Use

1508, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of cornucopia was in 1508

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Dictionary Entries Near cornucopia

Cite this Entry

“Cornucopia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cornucopia. Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

cornucopia

noun
cor·​nu·​co·​pia ˌkȯr-n(y)ə-ˈkō-pē-ə How to pronounce cornucopia (audio)
1
: a horn-shaped container overflowing with fruits and flowers used as a symbol of plenty
2
: a container shaped like a horn or a cone

More from Merriam-Webster on cornucopia

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