cor·​nu·​co·​pia ˌkȯr-nə-ˈkō-pē-ə How to pronounce cornucopia (audio)
: 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

: 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
: 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.”

Example Sentences

The market is a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables. The book includes a cornucopia of wonderful stories.
Recent Examples on the Web Director Sam Pollard has assembled a veritable cornucopia of commentators, including contemporaries and teammates of Russell’s like Cousy and K.C. Jones, plus more current NBA legends such as Steph Curry, Magic Johnson, and Shaq. Odie Henderson,, 9 Feb. 2023 This gives them the chance to play with a cornucopia of alien technology, but also summons war monger/profiteer Ansel Argon (Michael Peña), who is hunting for the orb with his bitter head of security Captain Irons (Jesse Williams) and a fleet of henchmen. Courtney Howard, Variety, 10 Aug. 2022 In the past, it’s been common to see a surge in quitting when the job market was tight, with a cornucopia of open positions. Phil Blair, San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 Nov. 2021 The $200 million foodie village, which includes 456 mid-rise apartments behind the plaza, will eventually include a Silverspot Cinema and still-unnamed organic supermarket, and a cornucopia of chains including Sloan’s, Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar, Bonefish Grill, Lynora’s Kitchen and Naked Taco. Phillip Valys,, 18 Mar. 2021 Munch on some food for thought with a history of the Jewish deli Kenny & Ziggy's regulars know the joys of a menu as long as a novel, promising a bottomless cornucopia of good eats and salty meats. Brittanie Shey, Chron, 11 May 2023 Laurie Drago spent around seven hours arranging a cornucopia of crimson-and-cream Indiana University paraphernalia for her daughter’s surprise party this year. Tara Weiss,, 3 May 2023 In her distinctive fashion, Feimster hits all the highlights: Cheap gas, nice restrooms, a cornucopia of kitschy merchandise, hot food and a superabundance of niche products such as hot sauce. Lawrence Specker | , al, 20 Apr. 2023 The highest honors, though, belong to quip master Robert Horn, whose book for the show is — forgive me — a cornucopia of jokes. Peter Marks, Washington Post, 20 Apr. 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


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


Dictionary Entries Near cornucopia

Cite this Entry

“Cornucopia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


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

More from Merriam-Webster on cornucopia

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