[ peen-yah-tuh, pin-yah-; Spanish pee-nyah-tah ]
/ pinˈyɑ tə, pɪnˈyɑ-; Spanish piˈnyɑ tɑ /

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.

Nearby words

  1. pièce d'occasion,
  2. pièce de résistance,
  3. piña,
  4. piña cloth,
  5. piña colada,
  6. piñon,
  7. piñon jay,
  8. più,
  9. piłsudski,
  10. pjs

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. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for pinata


/ (ˌpɪnˈjata) /


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

Word Origin and History for pinata



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