cos·​mos | \ ˈkäz-məs How to pronounce cosmos (audio) , senses 1 & 2 also -ˌmōs, -ˌmäs How to pronounce cosmos (audio) \

Definition of cosmos

b(1) : an orderly harmonious systematic universe — compare chaos
(2) : order, harmony
2 : a complex orderly self-inclusive system
3 plural cosmos\ ˈkäz-​məs How to pronounce cosmos (audio) , -​məz \ also cosmoses\ ˈkäz-​mə-​səz How to pronounce cosmoses (audio) \ [New Latin, genus name, from Greek kosmos] : any of a genus (Cosmos) of tropical American composite herbs especially : a widely cultivated tall annual (C. bipinnatus) with yellow or red disks and showy ray flowers

Illustration of cosmos

Illustration of cosmos

cosmos 3

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Cosmos and the Universe

Cosmos often simply means "universe". But the word is generally used to suggest an orderly or harmonious universe, as it was originally used by Pythagoras in the 6th century B.C. Thus, a religious mystic may help put us in touch with the cosmos, and so may a physicist. The same is often true of the adjective cosmic: Cosmic rays (really particles rather than rays) bombard us from outer space, but cosmic questions come from human attempts to find order in the universe.

Examples of cosmos in a Sentence

the origins of the cosmos an essay that ponders the place of humankind in the vast cosmos
Recent Examples on the Web The image comes from a telescope at the Gemini Observatory, perched atop a dormant volcano in Hawaii, that performs infrared scans of the cosmos. Marina Koren, The Atlantic, "You’ve Never Seen Jupiter Like This Before," 14 May 2020 Located across the street from the Country Meat Market, the piece condenses both site-specificity and the grandiosity of the cosmos — and our place in it — into a clean, lovely image. Darryl Ratcliff, Dallas News, "The Modern in Fort Worth offers an art show from the comfort of your car," 30 Apr. 2020 Three decades ago, Hubble launched into space on a mission to open humanity's eyes to the wonders of the cosmos. Fox News, "Hubble nabs stunning 'Cosmic Reef' image to mark 30th anniversary," 25 Apr. 2020 These particles are much, much lighter than quarks and pass through the cosmos ethereally, rarely stopping to interact with anything at all. Clara Moskowitz, Scientific American, "Antimatter Discovery Reveals Clues about the Universe’s Beginning," 23 Apr. 2020 One had dark-as-night hair that contained a starry cosmos of infinite depth; the other, in a child’s body, manipulated planets like toys. Krista Stevens, Longreads, "N.K. Jemisin: ‘I am still going to write what I am going to write.’," 22 Jan. 2020 For more than five years, Gaia has been gathering data on billions of stars, charting their orbits and path through the cosmos. Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Have Calculated How Long It'll Take to Reach Distant Stars," 30 Dec. 2019 Some 900 million years ago, a black hole released a terrible belch that echoed through the cosmos. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "Astronomers probably just saw a black hole swallow a dead star," 16 Aug. 2019 Pick up the Tao Te Ching, or The Book of the Way, a text that has been guiding people for millennia and addresses the nature of the cosmos, being human, and the wisdom of not doing, all in a mere 81 single-page chapters containing just a few lines. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Read this ancient text to deal with coronavirus pandemic stress," 28 Mar. 2020

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

1596, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for cosmos

Greek kosmos

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Time Traveler for cosmos

Time Traveler

The first known use of cosmos was in 1596

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Statistics for cosmos

Last Updated

22 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cosmos.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for cosmos


How to pronounce cosmos (audio) How to pronounce cosmos (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of cosmos

: the universe especially when it is understood as an ordered system
: a tall plant that has usually white, pink, or red flowers


cos·​mos | \ ˈkäz-məs, 1 is also -ˌmōs, -ˌmäs \

Kids Definition of cosmos

1 : the universe especially as thought of as an orderly system
2 : a tall garden plant related to the daisies that has showy white, pink, or rose-colored flower heads

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