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[kawr-puh s] /ˈkɔr pəs/
noun, plural corpora
[kawr-per-uh] /ˈkɔr pər ə/ (Show IPA).
or, sometimes, corpuses.
a large or complete collection of writings:
the entire corpus of Old English poetry.
the body of a person or animal, especially when dead.
Anatomy. a body, mass, or part having a special character or function.
Linguistics. a body of utterances, as words or sentences, assumed to be representative of and used for lexical, grammatical, or other linguistic analysis.
a principal or capital sum, as opposed to interest or income.
Origin of corpus
1225-75; Middle English < Latin
Can be confused
core, corp, corps, corpse, corpus. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for corpus
  • There is no final text, only an unfinished manuscript corpus.
  • They added up to a corpus of civilization, a series whose import had real stakes.
  • With this book, it has entered the corpus of social and art history.
  • The results from individual experiments must always be compared to a larger corpus of data.
  • But it seems to me that the explosion of writing online in the past few years ought to provide a worthy corpus to work with.
  • Here are some of the words proportional to their frequency in the corpus.
  • Even with the aid of computers, however, the problem of scale becomes daunting as the size of the corpus increases.
  • Of that vast corpus, few are universally judged to be successful.
  • They tirelessly search the entire historical published corpus of science for any semantic meaning.
  • Thus, the corpus of knowledge derived through science.
British Dictionary definitions for corpus


noun (pl) -pora (-pərə)
a collection or body of writings, esp by a single author or on a specific topic: the corpus of Dickens' works
the main body, section, or substance of something
  1. any distinct mass or body
  2. the main part of an organ or structure
the inner layer or layers of cells of the meristem at a shoot tip, which produces the vascular tissue and pith Compare tunica (sense 2)
(linguistics) a body of data, esp the finite collection of grammatical sentences of a language that a linguistic theory seeks to describe by means of an algorithm
a capital or principal sum, as contrasted with a derived income
(obsolete) a human or animal body, esp a dead one
Word Origin
C14: from Latin: body
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
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Word Origin and History for corpus

(plural corpora), late 14c., from Latin corpus, literally "body" (see corporeal). The sense of "body of a person" (mid-15c. in English) and "collection of facts or things" (1727 in English) both were present in Latin. Corpus Christi (late 14c.), feast of the Blessed Sacrament, is the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. Also used in various medical phrases, e.g. corpus callosum (1706, literally "tough body"), corpus luteum (1788, literally "yellow body").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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corpus in Medicine

corpus cor·pus (kôr'pəs)
n. pl. cor·po·ra (-pər-ə)

  1. The human body, consisting of the head, neck, trunk, and limbs.

  2. The main part of a bodily structure or organ.

  3. A distinct bodily mass or organ having a specific function.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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