[peen-yah-tuh, pin-yah-; Spanish pee-nyah-tah]
noun, plural pi·ña·tas [peen-yah-tuh z, pin-yah-; Spanish pee-nyah-tahs] /pinˈyɑ təz, pɪnˈyɑ-; Spanish piˈnyɑ tɑs/.
(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.
Origin of piñata
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
a papier-mâché party decoration filled with sweets, hung up during parties, and struck with a stick until it breaks open
Word Origin for piñata
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
1887, from Mexican Spanish piñata, in Spanish literally "jug, pot," ultimately from Latin pinea "pine cone," from pinus (see pine (n.)).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper