cornucopia

noun
cor·​nu·​co·​pia | \ ˌkȯr-nə-ˈkō-pē-ə How to pronounce cornucopia (audio) , -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 How to pronounce cornucopian (audio) , -​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 Some of that freshness comes from the cast, a cornucopia of effervescent young talent ballasted by a handful of doughty old-timers. New York Times, "‘Little Women’ Review: This Movie Is Big," 23 Dec. 2019 Fashion Imagine being able to shop a cornucopia of carefully curated, stellar vintage from top-tier dealers—and, yes, mega Instagram influencers—all in one place. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Object Limited Brings All of Your Favorite Vintage Dealers to One App," 1 Aug. 2019 This year’s Art Basel Miami Beach, a multi-day exhibition extravaganza featuring a cornucopia of works by some 4,000 artists, showcased paintings, photographs, sculptures, film and digital pieces by emerging artists and industry veterans alike. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Peeling Back the Drama Over the $120,000 Art Basel Banana," 10 Dec. 2019 There's a cornucopia of offerings from sit down, plated meals to buffets to family-style service or off-the-menu ordering. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, "These restaurants are open on Thanksgiving Day or have meals to go," 20 Nov. 2019 The result will be a cornucopia of auto brands — FCA's Jeep, Ram, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Lancia with PSA's Peugeot, Citroen, DS Automobiles, Opel and Vauxhall. Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press, "Peugeot leader Tavares loves cars, vows to preserve brands in FCA merger," 18 Dec. 2019 Still, the absence of an Indian restaurant – until now – is glaring: Hollywood is practically a United Nations of food, home to a cornucopia of Russian bakeries and Greek imports and kosher butchers and Mediterranean grocers and Thai markets. Phillip Valys, sun-sentinel.com, "Sajna Indian Cuisine, now open, is Hollywood’s only Indian restaurant. Why did it take so long?," 21 Nov. 2019 Aside from that bulbous, decorative cornucopia your aunt heaves out for the occasion, turkey, ham and seafood are among the traditional stars of the holiday table. Anchorage Daily News, "The holiday foods you can and can’t carry on a plane, according to TSA," 19 Nov. 2019 Let our six-week urban-foraging class open your eyes to the cornucopia that surrounds you! Katie Barsotti, The New Yorker, "Urban Foraging 101," 4 Sep. 2019

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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The first known use of cornucopia was in 1508

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Last Updated

23 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cornucopia.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cornucopia. Accessed 28 January 2020.

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More Definitions for cornucopia

cornucopia

noun
How to pronounce cornucopia (audio)

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

cornucopia

noun
cor·​nu·​co·​pia | \ ˌkȯr-nə-ˈkō-pē-ə How to pronounce cornucopia (audio) , -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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