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[kawrn] /kɔrn/
Also called Indian corn; especially technical and British, maize. a tall cereal plant, Zea mays, cultivated in many varieties, having a jointed, solid stem and bearing the grain, seeds, or kernels on large ears.
the grain, seeds, or kernels of this plant, used for human food or for fodder.
the ears of this plant.
the edible seed of certain other cereal plants, especially wheat in England and oats in Scotland.
the plants themselves.
Skiing. corn snow.
Informal. old-fashioned, trite, or mawkishly sentimental material, as a joke, a story, or music.
verb (used with object)
to preserve and season with salt in grains.
to preserve and season with brine.
to granulate, as gunpowder.
to plant (land) with corn.
to feed with corn.
Origin of corn1
before 900; Middle English, Old English; cognate with Dutch koren, Old Norse korn, German Korn, Gothic kaúrn; akin to Latin grānum grain, Russian zernó


[kawrn] /kɔrn/
noun, Pathology.
a horny induration or callosity of the epidermis, usually with a central core, formed especially on the toes or feet and caused by undue pressure or friction.
1375-1425; late Middle English corne < Anglo-French, Middle French < Latin cornū horn, hence a horny hardening of the cuticle. See cornu


a combining form meaning “having a horn,” of the kind specified by the initial element:
representing Latin -cornis horned


2. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for corn
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He'll be the corn king all right by June 1st; don't make any mistake on that.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • Fortunately the corn was not generally housed, and much of that was saved.

  • We don't grow anything like corn enough for ourselves in the Cantal,' he said.

    The Roof of France Matilda Betham-Edwards
  • She talked of corn, how it was planted and harvested, with what rites and festivals.

    The Trail Book Mary Austin
  • The men had been afraid that the God of the corn would not be friendly to us.

    The Trail Book Mary Austin
British Dictionary definitions for corn


  1. any of various cereal plants, esp the predominant crop of a region, such as wheat in England and oats in Scotland and Ireland
  2. the seeds of such plants, esp after harvesting
  3. a single seed of such plants; a grain
Also called Indian corn, British equivalent maize
  1. a tall annual grass, Zea mays, cultivated for its yellow edible grains, which develop on a spike
  2. the grain of this plant, used for food, fodder, and as a source of oil See also sweet corn (sense 1), popcorn (sense 1)
  1. the plants producing these kinds of grain considered as a growing crop: spring corn
  2. (in combination): a cornfield
short for corn whisky
(slang) an idea, song, etc, regarded as banal or sentimental
(archaic or dialect) any hard particle or grain
verb (transitive)
to feed (animals) with corn, esp oats
  1. to preserve in brine
  2. to salt
to plant corn on
Word Origin
Old English corn; related to Old Norse, Old High German corn, Gothic kaúrn, Latin grānum, Sanskrit jīrná fragile


a hardening or thickening of the skin around a central point in the foot, caused by pressure or friction
(Brit, informal) tread on someone's corns, to offend or hurt someone by touching on a sensitive subject or encroaching on his privileges
Word Origin
C15: from Old French corne horn, from Latin cornū
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for corn

"grain," Old English corn, from Proto-Germanic *kurnam "small seed" (cf. Old Frisian and Old Saxon korn "grain," Middle Dutch coren, German Korn, Old Norse korn, Gothic kaurn), from PIE root *gre-no- "grain" (cf. Old Church Slavonic zruno "grain," Latin granum "seed," Lithuanian žirnis "pea"). The sense of the Old English word was "grain with the seed still in" (e.g. barleycorn) rather than a particular plant.

Locally understood to denote the leading crop of a district. Restricted to the indigenous "maize" in America (c.1600, originally Indian corn, but the adjective was dropped), usually wheat in England, oats in Scotland and Ireland, while Korn means "rye" in parts of Germany. Maize was introduced to China by 1550, it thrived where rice did not grow well and was a significant factor in the 18th century population boom there. Cornflakes first recorded 1907. Corned beef so called for the "corns" or grains of salt with which it is preserved; from verb corn "to salt" (1560s).


"hardening of skin," early 15c., from Old French corne (13c.) "horn (of an animal)," later, "corn on the foot," from Latin cornu "horn" (see horn (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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corn in Medicine

corn 2 (kôrn)
A small conical callosity caused by pressure over a bony prominence, usually on a toe. Also called clavus, heloma.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for corn



  1. Corn whiskey; moonshine (1820+)
  2. Music, poetry, sentiment, etc, that is maudlin and naively affirmative of old-fashioned values; banal and emotionally overwrought material; schmaltz (1930+ Jazz musicians)

[second sense probably from the notion of cornfed as indicating rural simplicity and naivete]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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