noun, plural corpora [kawr-per-uh] . 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.

1225–75; Middle English < Latin

core, corp, corps, corpse, corpus. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
corpus (ˈkɔːpəs)
n , pl -pora
1.  a collection or body of writings, esp by a single author or on a specific topic: the corpus of Dickens' works
2.  the main body, section, or substance of something
3.  anatomy
 a.  any distinct mass or body
 b.  the main part of an organ or structure
4.  Compare tunica the inner layer or layers of cells of the meristem at a shoot tip, which produces the vascular tissue and pith
5.  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
6.  a capital or principal sum, as contrasted with a derived income
7.  obsolete a human or animal body, esp a dead one
[C14: from Latin: body]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

(pl. corpora), late 14c., from L., lit. "body" (see corporeal). The sense of "body of a person" (c.1440 in Eng.) and "collection of facts or things" (1727 in Eng.) were both present in L. Corpus Christi (late 14c.) Catholic feast of the Blessed Sacrament, is the Thursday
after Trinity Sunday. Corpus delecti (1832), is L., lit. "body of the offense," not "the murder victim's body," but the basic elements that make up a crime; in the case of a murder, including the body of the murdered person. Also used in various medical phrases, e.g. corpus callosum (1706, lit. "tough body"), corpus luteum (1788, lit. "yellow body").
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

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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Example sentences
There is no final text, only an unfinished manuscript 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.
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