cor·​pus | \ ˈkȯr-pəs How to pronounce corpus (audio) \
plural corpora\ ˈkȯr-​p(ə-​)rə How to pronounce corpus (audio) \

Definition of corpus

1 : the body of a human or animal especially when dead
2a : the main part or body of a bodily structure or organ the corpus of the uterus
b : the main body or corporeal substance of a thing specifically : the principal of a fund or estate as distinct from income or interest
3a : all the writings or works of a particular kind or on a particular subject especially : the complete works of an author
b : a collection or body of knowledge or evidence especially : a collection of recorded utterances used as a basis for the descriptive analysis of a language

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Synonyms for corpus


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Examples of corpus in a Sentence

a computerized corpus of English Jane Austen's corpus is modest in number but magnificent in achievement.
Recent Examples on the Web Without drawing down from its more than $3 billion corpus, the California Endowment now has hundreds of millions to spend on improving access to health care and supporting grassroots organizations led by people of color in California. Star Tribune, "Foundations turn to bond market in response to rising need," 19 Feb. 2021 The operational assumptions of that caliphate and the classical corpus of Islamic jurisprudence by which it was governed have remained deeply embedded in Muslim societies. Yahya Cholil Staquf, WSJ, "How to Make the Islamic World Less Radical," 14 Jan. 2021 Like no one else, Hooper absorbed the vast corpus of Lewis’s work: fantasy, satire, science fiction, literary criticism, essays, sermons, apologetics, and poetry. Joseph Loconte, National Review, "Walter Hooper, R.I.P.," 7 Dec. 2020 In its variety, the Substack corpus resembles the blogosphere. Anna Wiener, The New Yorker, "Is Substack the Media Future We Want?," 28 Dec. 2020 Fifty-eight years, more than 600 songs and one Nobel Prize later, the cultural and economic value of Dylan’s songwriting corpus have both grown exponentially. New York Times, "Bob Dylan Sells His Songwriting Catalog in Blockbuster Deal," 7 Dec. 2020 Thankfully, the corpus is constitutionally protected and cannot be spent on government without a vote of the people. Anchorage Daily News, "Candidate Q&A: Alaska House District 23 — Chris Tuck," 3 Oct. 2020 And the investment corpus is getting more reserved, too. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "Facebook, Google wanted a piece of Jio—but Softbank said no thanks," 11 Nov. 2020 Dozens of affidavits were contained within the corpus of the lawsuit. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "GOP Michigan poll watchers swear they incurred 'intimidation' and 'threats of assault'," 12 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'corpus.' 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 corpus

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for corpus

Middle English, borrowed from Latin, "body, entity, group of people, collection, compendium" — more at midriff

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Time Traveler for corpus

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The first known use of corpus was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

5 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

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

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English Language Learners Definition of corpus

: a collection of writings, conversations, speeches, etc., that people use to study and describe a language
: a collection of poems, paintings, songs, etc.


cor·​pus | \ ˈkȯr-pəs How to pronounce corpus (audio) \
plural corpora\ -​p(ə-​)rə How to pronounce corpus (audio) \

Medical Definition of corpus

1 : the human or animal body especially when dead
2 : the main part or body of a bodily structure or organ the corpus of the jaw — see corpus uteri


cor·​pus | \ ˈkȯr-pəs, -ˌpu̇s How to pronounce corpus (audio) \
plural corpora\ -​pə-​rə How to pronounce corpus (audio) \

Legal Definition of corpus

: the main body of a thing specifically : the principal of a fund, trust, or estate as distinct from income or interest : res

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