a. Any of numerous cultivated forms of a widely grown, usually tall annual cereal grass (Zea mays) bearing grains or kernels on large ears.
b. The grains or kernels of this plant, used as food for humans and livestock or for the extraction of an edible oil or starch. Also called Indian corn . Also called maize .
- An ear of this plant.
- Chiefly British Any of various cereal plants or grains, especially the principal crop cultivated in a particular region, such as wheat in England or oats in Scotland.
a. A single grain of a cereal plant.
b. A seed or fruit of various other plants, such as a peppercorn.
- Corn snow.
- Informal Corn whiskey.
- Slang Something considered trite, dated, melodramatic, or unduly sentimental.
verbcorned, corn·ing, corns
- To cause to form hard particles; granulate.
a. To season and preserve with granulated salt.
b. To preserve (beef, for example) in brine.
- To feed (animals) with corn or grain.
To form hard particles; become grainy: “After the snow melts all day, it corns up at night for fine conditions” ( Hatfield MA Valley Advocate )
Origin of corn
Middle English grain from
Old English; see g&rlowring;ə-no-
in Indo-European roots.Word History:
Originally, the English word corn
meant any rounded grain or seed whatsoever. In particular, it was used to refer to the kind of grain most often grown in a certain region. Thus in England, a cornfield
is usually a field of wheat. The pretty blue cornflower
is a Eurasian weed that originally plagued fields of wheat, not maize. In Scotland, on the other hand, corn
can mean “oats,” the grain that thrives best in Scotland's cool and damp climate. To modern North Americans, however, corn
—that is, the plant Zea mays
and its seeds. When they first encountered Zea mays
in the 16th century, the English borrowed the Spanish term for the grain, maíz,
which is in turn a borrowing of Arawakan mahiz
Later, in the 17th century, another term for maize appears, Indian corn
—the word Indian
here meaning “native to the Americas.” The American word corn
in the specific meaning “maize” is simply a shortening of Indian corn.
A horny thickening of the skin, usually on or near a toe, resulting from pressure or friction. Also called clavus .
Origin of corn
Middle English corne from
Old French horn from
; see ker-1
in Indo-European roots.
(usually uncountable, plural corns)
- (uncountable) A cereal plant grown for its grain, specifically the main such plant grown in a given region, such as oats in parts of Scotland and Ireland, wheat or barley in England and Wales, and maize or sweetcorn in the Americas.
- (US, Canada, Australia, uncountable) A type of grain of the species Zea mays, maize
- (UK, uncountable) A grain or seed, especially of cereal crops.
- A small, hard particle.
(third-person singular simple present corns, present participle corning, simple past and past participle corned)
- (US, Canada) To granulate; to form a substance into grains.
- to corn gunpowder
- (US, Canada) To preserve using coarse salt, e.g. corned beef
- (US, Canada) To provide with corn (typically maize; or, in Scotland, oats) for feed.
- Corn the horses.
- To render intoxicated.
- ale strong enough to corn one
From Middle English corn, from Old English corn, from Proto-Germanic *kurną, from Proto-Indo-European *ǵr̥h₂nóm (“grain; worn-down”), neuter participle of Proto-Indo-European *ǵer- (“to wear down”), or a substantivized form of *ǵr̥h₂-nós (“matured, grown old”), from *ǵerh₂- (“grow old, mature”). Cognate with Dutch koren, Low German Koorn, German Korn, Danish/Norwegian/Swedish korn; see also Russian зерно (zerno), Czech zrno, Latin grānum, Lithuanian žirnis, Persian خرمن (xarman), and English grain.
- A type of callus, usually on the feet or hands.
From Old French corn (modern French cor).
- (US, Canada) Something (e.g. acting, humour, music, or writing) which is deemed old-fashioned or intended to induce emotion.
This use was first used in 1932, as corny, something appealing to country folk.
- (uncountable) short for corn snow. A type of granular snow formed by repeated melting and re-freezing, often in mountain spring conditions.
- having (such) horns; one having (such) horns
Latin cornu (“horn")