verb (used with object)

Origin of corn

before 900; Middle English, Old English; cognate with Dutch koren, Old Norse korn, German Korn, Gothic kaúrn; akin to Latin grānum grain, Russian zernó



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.

Origin of corn

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: longicorn.

Origin of -corn

representing Latin -cornis horned

Corn. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for corn

Contemporary Examples of corn

Historical Examples of corn

  • 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

  • He had never forgiven the Shaman, you see, for that old story about the Corn Maiden.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

  • Do not show yourselves ungrateful to the Corn by denying her servants their wages.

    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 oilSee also sweet corn (def. 1), popcorn (def. 1)
  1. the plants producing these kinds of grain considered as a growing cropspring 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 (tr)

to feed (animals) with corn, esp oats
  1. to preserve in brine
  2. to salt
to plant corn on

Word Origin for corn

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
tread on someone's corns British informal to offend or hurt someone by touching on a sensitive subject or encroaching on his privileges

Word Origin for corn

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

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

corn in Medicine




A small conical callosity caused by pressure over a bony prominence, usually on a toe.clavus heloma
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.