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

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 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 There is a cornucopia of names for the January full moon besides the wolf moon, including the Old Moon and Ice Moon. Megan Marples And Ashley Strickland, CNN, 17 Jan. 2022 America is a wonderful cornucopia of so many world cuisines. Kendra Nordin Beato, The Christian Science Monitor, 19 Nov. 2021 And Hotchner is quick to point out that the festival is no cornucopia of fuzzy kittens tumbling all over one another or cats with their heads stuck in tissue boxes., 26 Oct. 2021 There’s a cornucopia of such proxies to choose from, ranging from the banal (various element and isotope ratios) to the bizarre (packrat urine, leaf wax, moth scales, and leaf pores). Howard Lee, Ars Technica, 20 Dec. 2021 There is a cornucopia of companies, often across industry sectors, that commit funding resources to veterans. Katherine Webster, Forbes, 12 Nov. 2021 On the palate is a cornucopia of bright fruit flavor spiked with ginger and dark chocolate. Dan Dunn, Robb Report, 12 Jan. 2021 Fittingly, the metallic cornucopia was often on this mid-point. Brenda Yenke, cleveland, 25 Nov. 2021 This award-winning mask is packed with antioxidants from the cornucopia of superfruits blended into it: acai, maqui, prickly pair, and goji berries. Karen I. Chen, Travel + Leisure, 9 Nov. 2021

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 2022

Cite this Entry

“Cornucopia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on cornucopia

Nglish: Translation of cornucopia for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about cornucopia


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