cor·​nu·​co·​pia | \ˌkȯr-nə-ˈkō-pē-ə, -nyə-ˈkō-\

Definition of cornucopia 

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

Illustration of cornucopia

Illustration of cornucopia

cornucopia a

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Other Words from cornucopia

cornucopian \ˌkȯr-​nə-​ˈkō-​pē-​ən, -​nyə-​ˈkō-​ \ adjective

Cornucopia Has Latin Origins and Greek History

Cornucopia comes from the 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 that the god Zeus was fed as an infant. 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

But amid this cornucopia, certain general principles do apply. Jonathan Kay, WSJ, "Scrabble Is a Lousy Game," 4 Oct. 2018 The task of having to ask for it was made up for by the cornucopia of baked goods: two rolls, four enormous flatbreads, and four fat slices of sourdough on an outsize tray. Fox, Town & Country, "A Table for Mr. Fox," 21 Nov. 2012 Further to the right are Tellus Italiae, a goddess personifying Italy in all its fecundity, who holds a cornucopia, and Oceanus, god of the sea. Judith H. Dobrzynski, WSJ, "A Man Among Gods," 21 Sep. 2018 Photo: Thinkstock Your plate is a cornucopia of flavors. Jill Provost, Woman's Day, "Are You Sabotaging Your Diet?," 7 Feb. 2011 While truffles are certainly the culinary crown jewel of the area, the southwest is a year-round cornucopia. Christina Liao, Vogue, "Why You Should Be Going to Australia for Fresh Black Truffles," 12 July 2018 Adcock, an avowed rosé lover for years, had no trouble gushing over the cornucopia of pink wines making their way into the marketplace. Dave Eckert, kansascity, "Rosés are the 'go to' summertime drink for wine lovers, even KC barbecue fans," 12 June 2018 So in preparation for New York City’s Pride parade on Sunday, the two set out to score some outfits, first hitting up American Vintage, a cornucopia of yesteryear designer finds. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Watch Hennessy Carolina and Her Girlfriend, Michelle Diaz, Shop for Pride," 22 June 2018 The new conclusion: People in the study who ate a typical Southern European cornucopia of ingredients with an emphasis on extra nuts or extra-virgin olive oil had fewer strokes and heart attacks than those who weren’t put on such a diet. Glenn Fleishman, Fortune, "Mediterranean Diet Study Walks Back Strongest Claim. Here's What Researchers Got Wrong," 14 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cornucopia.' 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 cornucopia

1508, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cornucopia

Late Latin, from Latin cornu copiae horn of plenty

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Last Updated

27 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for cornucopia

The first known use of cornucopia was in 1508

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English Language Learners Definition of cornucopia

: a container that is shaped like a horn and is full of fruits and flowers

: a great amount or source of something


cor·​nu·​co·​pia | \ˌkȯr-nə-ˈkō-pē-ə, -nyə-\

Kids Definition of cornucopia

: a container in the shape of a horn overflowing with fruits and flowers used as a symbol of plenty

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