cor·​nu·​co·​pia ˌkȯr-nə-ˈkō-pē-ə How to pronounce cornucopia (audio)
: 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

: 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
: a receptacle shaped like a horn or cone
cornucopian adjective

Illustration of cornucopia

Illustration of cornucopia
  • cornucopia a

Did you know?

Cornucopia Has Latin Origins and Greek History

Cornucopia comes from the Late 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, which could be filled with whatever the owner wished, that the god Zeus was fed as an infant by his nurse, the nymph Amalthaea. 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.”

Example Sentences

The market is a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables. The book includes a cornucopia of wonderful stories.
Recent Examples on the Web Finish the vignette with a cornucopia worth of fresh fruits. Bebe Howorth, ELLE Decor, 16 Nov. 2022 The pop cornucopia didn’t stop there, with Jepsen releasing her sixth album The Loneliest Time. Glenn Rowley, Billboard, 21 Oct. 2022 As for the fruits of the November holiday, however, the George Tillman Jr. classic is a cornucopia. Deanna Janes, Harper's BAZAAR, 4 Nov. 2022 The Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music is a veritable cornucopia of events; the fall season alone is jam-packed with orchestra, chamber music, opera, and choral performances by a broad palette of students, faculty, and guests. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, 20 Sep. 2022 This fall there is a cornucopia of new titles that delve into the lives and business choices and legacies of many of the denizens of classic Hollywood. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 19 Oct. 2022 Traditionally, a cornucopia was usually filled with the autumn harvest, plants and flowers, to show off that season's autumnal bounty. Lizz Schumer, Good Housekeeping, 22 Sep. 2022 The 33-year-old native of Fort Myers, Florida, fell in love with the state and its cornucopia of great courses. Ben Steele, Journal Sentinel, 17 Aug. 2022 Before and after Ian, a cornucopia of news stories correctly dwelled on the huge increase in Florida’s population and mostly harrumphed aimlessly about it. WSJ, 11 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

Word History


Late Latin, from Latin cornu copiae horn of plenty

First Known Use

1508, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of cornucopia was in 1508


Dictionary Entries Near cornucopia

Cite this Entry

“Cornucopia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition


cor·​nu·​co·​pia ˌkȯr-n(y)ə-ˈkō-pē-ə How to pronounce cornucopia (audio)
: a horn-shaped container overflowing with fruits and flowers used as a symbol of plenty
: a container shaped like a horn or a cone

More from Merriam-Webster on cornucopia

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