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 cornucopia (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 Two times a year, fans of the brand go bananas over this cornucopia of price cuts, which features massive markdowns on everything from the company’s best-selling bras and underwear to pj’s, athleisure and more. Nicole Briese, USA TODAY, "Victoria's Semi-Annual Sale: Shop our top picks from the long-awaited event," 26 Dec. 2020 Faced with this exquisite temptation, this clucking cornucopia of fowl, all his oaths, his confessions, his promises . . . Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: One Famous Fox," 18 Dec. 2020 Fans of Disney+ will have roughly 10 new series from Marvel and Star War alongside a cornucopia of other content. Frank Pallotta, CNN, "Streaming is about to get a lot more expensive," 13 Dec. 2020 InRamen stands among a cornucopia of chain eateries and bars destined for Dania Pointe, the newish-but-still-buzzy shopping center hugging the spine of I-95 north of Stirling Road. Phillip Valys,, "What’s new at sprawling Dania Pointe shopping mall: InRamen, Rodizio Grill, Ocean One Bar," 8 Dec. 2020 Bari Gordon would deck the table with a cornucopia and paper turkey, cook up three kinds of stuffing and orchestrate a feast for 40 people spread over two shifts. Kelly Smith, Star Tribune, "Families retool traditions for a 2020 Thanksgiving amid coronavirus pandemic," 26 Nov. 2020 If making and filling a real cornucopia feels like too much work for your small family Thanksgiving celebration, why not make a small-scale display on top of a serving board? Emily Vanschmus, Better Homes & Gardens, "9 Thanksgiving Charcuterie Boards to Make Instead of a Turkey Dinner," 13 Nov. 2020 Reaching the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was the cherry on top of a cornucopia of awards and achievements for Houston. Laura Zornosa, Los Angeles Times, "Whitney Houston’s mother gets emotional during Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction," 9 Nov. 2020 Most Minnesota electric and gas utilities submitted rather modest plans to the PUC, but Xcel proposed $3 billion for a cornucopia of accelerated investments, a number that has since been whittled to about $2.5 billion. Mike Hughlett, Star Tribune, "Minnesota utility regulators getting pushback on economic-stimulus initiative," 7 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for cornucopia

Time Traveler

The first known use of cornucopia was in 1508

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Last Updated

23 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cornucopia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for cornucopia



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 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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