Share this entry

Share this page

cornucopia

Line breaks: cor¦nu|co¦pia
Pronunciation: /ˌkɔːnjʊˈkəʊpɪə
 
/

Definition of cornucopia in English:

noun

1A symbol of plenty consisting of a goat’s horn overflowing with flowers, fruit, and corn.
Example sentences
  • These were decorated using stencils and bronze powders (which were less expensive than paints) with motifs such as cornucopias, baskets of flowers, trailing vines, and a wide variety of decorative patterns.
  • Bring a cornucopia or other symbol of thanksgiving and photos of some of your friends, the children you meet, and members of the church family.
  • Bring the cornucopia or other symbol of thanksgiving that you used last week.
1.1An ornamental container shaped like a goat’s horn.
Example sentences
  • The rare cornucopia shown in Plate XVI is embellished with free-floating murrhine and entwined with a seventeenth-century-style crested serpent.
  • The figure of Ceres on the stem of the cup holds a cornucopia.
  • Although the author does not mention it, you can see, from the useful illustrations contained here, that the cornucopia in Britannia's hand has been transformed into a sword in the hand of Leviathan.
1.2An abundant supply of good things of a specified kind: the festival offers a cornucopia of pleasures
More example sentences
  • Asian powers such as China and Japan have economies dependent on exports and are eager to supply us with a cornucopia of goods.
  • With Edinburgh playing host to a cornucopia of festivals over the coming month, it can be difficult to step back and take each individual programme on its own merit.
  • The Visual Arts Gallery is hosting the exhibition titled ‘Dreams’ a cornucopia of digital media printed on canvas.

Origin

early 16th century: from late Latin, from Latin cornu copiae 'horn of plenty' (a mythical horn able to provide whatever is desired).

More
  • copious from (Late Middle English):

    Copious is from Latin copia ‘plenty’, also found in the symbol of fruitfulness the cornucopia (late 16th century) or ‘horn of plenty’, and in copy (Late Middle English). The radical change of meaning from the Latin came about because copia had a secondary meaning of ‘permission, licence, opportunity’. Latin phrases such as copiam describendi facere ‘permission to make a transcription’ led to copia being used in medieval Latin to mean a copy.

Derivatives

cornucopian

1
adjective
Example sentences
  • I imagine the beguiling capsules pricked, skins wrinkling as they leak though they look certain as glass as if plucked from the cornucopian table of a seventeenth century still life.
  • John Greenway, Derek Watson and many others will not be able to resist the temptation to win a hamper, a turkey, whisky and lovely money amongst the cornucopian prize list.
  • Not so the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, whose inaugural show some 25 years ago featured a cornucopian banquet table loaded with the daily breads of the world - twisted, braided, and kneaded.

Words that rhyme with cornucopia

dystopia, Ethiopia, myopia, subtopia, Utopia

Definition of cornucopia in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day terpsichorean
Pronunciation: ˌtəːpsɪkəˈriːən
adjective
relating to dancing