cornucopia

noun cor·nu·co·pia \ ˌkȯr-nə-ˈkō-pē-ə , -nyə-ˈkō- \
Updated on: 11 Nov 2017

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

cornucopian

play \ˌkȯr-nə-ˈkō-pē-ən, -nyə-ˈkō-\ adjective

cornucopia was our Word of the Day on 10/29/2013. Hear the podcast!

Examples of cornucopia in a Sentence

  1. The market is a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables.

  2. The book includes a cornucopia of wonderful stories.

Recent Examples of cornucopia from the Web

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.

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.

Illustration of cornucopia

Origin and Etymology of cornucopia

Late Latin, from Latin cornu copiae horn of plenty

Other Handicraft Terms


CORNUCOPIA Defined for English Language Learners

cornucopia

noun

Definition of cornucopia for English Language Learners

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

  • : a great amount or source of something


CORNUCOPIA Defined for Kids

cornucopia

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

Definition of cornucopia for Students

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


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