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 cosmos (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 But by analyzing what such an object would look like and leave behind as excess heat, scientists are better able to search the cosmos for that signature—and find any new neighbors who are running Dyson spheres on their nearest black hole. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 6 Sep. 2021 The variety of ideas covered art, science, design and engineering, and the topics were as large as the cosmos and as small as a single cell. Damon Johnstun, oregonlive, 31 Aug. 2021 Will the cosmos ever completely reveal its secrets? Bruce Dorminey, Forbes, 30 Aug. 2021 At the same time, a 21st-century reader will be aware, perhaps even more acutely, of Maxwell’s place in an almost mythical literary cosmos. New York Times, 30 Aug. 2021 But the show, written and executive produced by the Arrowverse's Greg Berlanti, will move to different times and spaces around the cosmos. Nick Romano,, 20 Aug. 2021 The Earth also emits background infrared radiation that would overwhelm the faint signals coming from the deep cosmos. Shi En Kim, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 Aug. 2021 There was a time when this result would have shocked the soccer cosmos, but no longer., 2 Aug. 2021 An unwitting dry run for his role in The Martian, Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi drama finds Damon playing Dr. Mann, one of several humans who has traveled across the cosmos trying to find habitable planets. Tim Grierson, Vulture, 30 July 2021

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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Last Updated

16 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cosmos.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for cosmos



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

More from Merriam-Webster on cosmos

Nglish: Translation of cosmos for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cosmos for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about cosmos


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