[koz-muh s, -mohs]

noun, plural cos·mos, cos·mos·es 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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cosmos

Contemporary Examples of cosmos

Historical Examples of cosmos

  • And where once burned the eye of the Cosmos will be naught but a hideous emptiness.


    James Huneker

  • It is the skeleton, the structure of life, love, the cosmos.


    James Huneker

  • For a list of historic "dark days," see Humboldt, Cosmos, 1-120.

  • It was a ghostly reddish thing which filled half the cosmos.

    Sand Doom

    William Fitzgerald Jenkins

  • The cosmos is about the smallest hole that a man can hide his head in.

    Personality in Literature

    Rolfe Arnold Scott-James

British Dictionary definitions for cosmos



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

Word Origin for cosmos

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

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

cosmos in Science


[kŏzməs, kŏzmōs′]

The universe, especially when considered as an orderly and harmonious whole.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.