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[koz-muh s, -mohs] /ˈkɒz məs, -moʊs/
noun, plural cosmos, cosmoses for 2, 4.
the world or universe regarded as an orderly, harmonious system.
a complete, orderly, harmonious system.
order; harmony.
any composite plant of the genus Cosmos, of tropical America, some species of which, as C. bipannatus and C. sulphureus, are cultivated for their showy ray flowers.
Also, Kosmos. (initial capital letter) Aerospace. one of a long series of Soviet satellites that have been launched into orbit around the earth.
Origin of cosmos
1150-1200; Middle English < Greek kósmos order, form, arrangement, the world or universe Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for cosmos
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was quite natural that these latter should have learned their language and borrowed their ideas of the cosmos.

    Instigations Ezra Pound
  • The cosmos, and not the Earth, was the whole to which I belonged.

    The Heart of Nature Francis Younghusband
  • My theory of myself in my relation to the cosmos had been upset by practical phenomena.

    The Morals of Marcus Ordeyne William J. Locke
  • Was there a nugget 261 of forgotten gold in his cosmos, and had she discovered it?

    The Pagan Madonna Harold MacGrath
  • As civilization increases man's control of the cosmos, it takes the fun out of it.

    Talents, Incorporated William Fitzgerald Jenkins
British Dictionary definitions for cosmos


the world or universe considered as an ordered system
any ordered system
harmony; order
(pl) -mos, -moses. any tropical American plant of the genus Cosmos, cultivated as garden plants for their brightly coloured flowers: family Asteraceae (composites)
Word Origin
C17: from Greek kosmos order, world, universe


(astronautics) any of various types of Soviet satellite, including Cosmos 1 (launched 1962) and nearly 2000 subsequent satellites
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 cosmos

c.1200 (but not popular until 1848, as a translation of Humboldt's Kosmos), from Latinized form of Greek kosmos "order, good order, orderly arrangement," a word with several main senses rooted in those notions: The verb kosmein meant generally "to dispose, prepare," but especially "to order and arrange (troops for battle), to set (an army) in array;" also "to establish (a government or regime);" "to deck, adorn, equip, dress" (especially of women). Thus kosmos had an important secondary sense of "ornaments of a woman's dress, decoration" (cf. kosmokomes "dressing the hair") as well as "the universe, the world."

Pythagoras is said to have been the first to apply this word to "the universe," perhaps originally meaning "the starry firmament," but later it was extended to the whole physical world, including the earth. For specific reference to "the world of people," the classical phrase was he oikoumene (ge) "the inhabited (earth)." Septuagint uses both kosmos and oikoumene. Kosmos also was used in Christian religious writing with a sense of "worldly life, this world (as opposed to the afterlife)," but the more frequent word for this was aion, literally "lifetime, age."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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cosmos in Science
  (kŏz'məs, kŏz'mōs')   
The universe, especially when considered as an orderly and harmonious whole.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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