• synonyms


  1. any of several varieties of corn whose kernels burst open and puff out when subjected to dry heat.
  2. popped corn.
  3. peanut(def 4c).
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Origin of popcorn

1810–20, Americanism; short for popped corn. See pop1, -ed2, corn1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for popcorn

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Then something sound like popcorn beginning to pop real slow.

  • Ellen stood facing the men, with the white festoons of popcorn in her hands.


    Zona Gale

  • Popcorn and apples—Armenian laces, even—beg a quicker audience.

    Wappin' Wharf

    Charles S. Brooks

  • We followed with our popcorn, but Antonia hung back—said she had to get her cake into the oven.

    My Antonia

    Willa Cather

  • We never got anything as nice as popcorn and peanuts in the jungle, did we?

British Dictionary definitions for popcorn


  1. a variety of maize having hard pointed kernels that puff up when heated
  2. the puffed edible kernels of this plant
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Word Origin

C19: so called because of the noise the grains make when they swell up and burst on heating
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 popcorn


1819, from pop (v.) + corn (n.1).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper