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[peen-yah-tuh, pin-yah-; Spanish pee-nyah-tah] /pinˈyɑ tə, pɪnˈyɑ-; Spanish piˈnyɑ tɑ/
noun, plural piñatas
[peen-yah-tuh z, pin-yah-; Spanish pee-nyah-tahs] /pinˈyɑ təz, pɪnˈyɑ-; Spanish piˈnyɑ tɑs/ (Show IPA)
(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.
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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for piñata
  • Now the brain boys are taking a whack at the pinata.
  • But here's the thing about a pinata, it doesn't open on it's own, you have to beat it with a stick.
  • Some of them a little too much, such as this poor pinata whose candy has spilled onto the hospital floor.
  • The posada festivities reach a peak with the breaking of a pinata.
  • Some of the high-end packages include clowns, face-painting and even a pinata to bash.
British Dictionary definitions for piñata


a papier-mâché party decoration filled with sweets, hung up during parties, and struck with a stick until it breaks open
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for piñata



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
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