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piñata

[peen-yah-tuh, pin-yah-; Spanish pee-nyah-tah]
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noun, plural pi·ña·tas [peen-yah-tuh z, pin-yah-; Spanish pee-nyah-tahs] /pinˈyɑ təz, pɪnˈyɑ-; Spanish piˈnyɑ tɑs/.
  1. (in Mexico and Central America) a gaily decorated crock or papier-mâché figure filled with toys, candy, etc., and suspended from above, especially during Christmas or birthday festivities, so that children, who are blindfolded, may break it or knock it down with sticks and release the contents.
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Origin of piñata

1885–90; < Spanish: literally, pot < Italian pignatta, probably derivative of dial. pigna pinecone (from the pot's shape) < Latin pīnea, noun use of feminine of pīneus of the pine tree; see pine1, -eous
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for pinata

piñata

noun
  1. a papier-mâché party decoration filled with sweets, hung up during parties, and struck with a stick until it breaks open
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Word Origin

Spanish, from Italian pignatta, probably from dialect pigna, from Latin pinea pine cone
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

Word Origin and History for pinata

n.

1887, from Mexican Spanish piñata, in Spanish literally "jug, pot," ultimately from Latin pinea "pine cone," from pinus (see pine (n.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper