Definition of cone in US English:



  • 1A solid or hollow object which tapers from a circular or roughly circular base to a point.

    • ‘The collision had thrown pieces of his car as far as 200 yards: tyres and wheels, rods and screws, sockets and cones.’
    • ‘The cone focused the laser energy, causing the plasma to be heated and fusion reactions to occur in the compressed plasma between some of its deuterium nuclei.’
    • ‘Now, Yolinda's hair has been formed into a tall cone like shape on her head.’
    • ‘He will construct a snake of leaves that flows down a river, a cone of bleached wood that will float away on the tide, a bracken sculpture that is broken by the wind.’
    • ‘Its present shape is a truncated cone with a base area of 2.1ha and a height of 40m.’
    • ‘The fuselage had a separate cone shaped nose section housing the crew of one.’
    • ‘Under that long nose is a pair of conical, carbonfibre crush cones.’
    • ‘An old wooden soccer goal sits in pieces at the base of the cone, placed there by soldiers who once played on what was undoubtedly the world's most dangerous soccer field.’
    • ‘The crystal clear cone just simply melted away, disappeared.’
    • ‘It was holding two brown, dried and dead flowers that were shaped like cones with lots of buds covering it.’
    • ‘They were weighed and wrapped in a cone of paper, which was quickly and expertly rolled by the shopkeeper.’
    • ‘After shaping a piece of paper into a cone, allowing him to safely drink some water, he devised the first paper cup.’
    • ‘The dramatic hollow cone projecting from the front of the headdress is understood as a beehive.’
    • ‘Starting from the corner opposite the Velcro, roll paper around flower to form a cone (make sure bottom is snug).’
    • ‘Both the frites and haricots were presented vertically in a paper cone, which itself was placed in a copper spiral.’
    • ‘The engines are cross-coupled so that each propeller is run by two diesel engines through clutch and cone belt transmission gears.’
    • ‘Create an appetizer tree by covering a Styrofoam cone with lettuce leaves.’
    • ‘Spiny brown growths resembling hollow cones that form at branch tips on Colorado spruce are caused by an insect called Cooley spruce gall aphid.’
    • ‘Alarmed, John hurried back over to the shelf, grabbed a third panel, and arrived at the sensor cone in record time.’
    • ‘It turned its hideous head that looked like a rounded cone, with the snout being the pointy end and the round side being in back.’
    1. 1.1Mathematics A surface or solid figure generated by the straight lines that pass from a circle or other closed curve to a single point (the vertex) not in the same plane as the curve. A cone with the vertex perpendicularly over the center of a circular base is a right circular cone.
      • ‘To be precise, it has to pass through the cone surface’
      • ‘First we should note that conic sections to Apollonius are by definition the curves formed when a plane intersects the surface of a cone.’
      • ‘The shape of the area of influence is an inverted cone, with the cone's vertex being the nose of the vibrator.’
      • ‘If the planes pass through the vertex of the cone, the conics are said to be degenerate, otherwise they are not.’
      • ‘In the first 57 propositions in On the Section of a Cone Serenus examined triangular sections of right and scalene cones made by planes passing through the vertex.’
    2. 1.2 A conical mountain or peak, especially one of volcanic origin.
      • ‘Extinct volcanic cones are very much a part of the Auckland landscape.’
      • ‘When magma moves beneath a volcano, such as when the magma chamber fills prior to an eruption, there is swelling of the volcanic cone above.’
      • ‘Flying into Guatemala City before dawn, I saw a volcano on fire, glowing lava streaming down its cone, reddening the darkness.’
      • ‘South is the desert and further south-east are more mountains with desolate plateaux and volcanic cones and craters.’
      • ‘These views include the horizon, the ocean and the astonishing volcanic cones of the four Glasshouse Mountains on the coastal plain.’
      • ‘At the center of the tableau was the volcano's cone and its steaming crater.’
      • ‘That error is encouraged by the mountain's cone shape and real volcanoes nearby - as at Sibley Preserve.’
      • ‘The signature volcanic cone awaits at the bottom.’
      • ‘In 1949, both basanite and tephrite were ejected during a single, 5 week long eruption that formed monogenetic cones and lava flows on the volcanic island of La Palma, Canary Islands.’
      • ‘Then a few cones of mountains to the north, a few more at great distance to the south.’
      • ‘The mountain is a cone of ice and limestone on a granite base, and the peak is considered by most climbers to be more difficult to reach than Everest's.’
      • ‘The summit cone of Ben More is magnetic and compass readings can be misleading.’
      • ‘Scoria is the most common material in most volcanic cones.’
      • ‘This is a living reef resting on an extinct volcano cone which comes up about three kilometres (two miles) from the ocean floor.’
      • ‘Monogenetic volcanoes are small and occur as scoria cones, tuff cones and rings, and maars; they form from single, typically brief eruptions.’
      • ‘Various architectures connecting extrusive mud volcanic cones to their underlying source layer have been described, ranging from bulbous diapirs to steep diatremes and narrow vertical pipes.’
      • ‘Even steam emanating from a volcanic cone is newsworthy.’
      • ‘Phreatomagmatic to strombolian cones, which are the first eruptive vents of the horizontal series, are intercalated at the contact.’
      • ‘The cones are composite because they consist of alternating layers of ash and frozen lava.’
      • ‘Its form may imitate volcanic cones such as can be seen in the Tuxtla Mountains only 100 km to the west.’
    3. 1.3 A plastic cone-shaped object that is used to separate off or close sections of a road.
      • ‘DID YOU ever wonder about the sudden appearance of parking cones strewn across the roads around town diverting traffic in all directions?’
      • ‘A bright orange traffic cone now marks where the lead sculpture once stood.’
      • ‘But the piston restricts the amount the gate can open, so the gate is be propped open halfway by a bright orange traffic cone.’
      • ‘Upon the traffic cone, written in black permanent marker, was a large ‘D'.’
      • ‘The traffic cone has been removed from it, and without a shadow of a doubt, it is an accident waiting to happen, and then it will be too late.’
      • ‘Moving on toward the production control area, Duncan stops to indicate a red traffic cone sitting inside a square taped on the floor.’
      • ‘It follows the recent discovery of a device hidden in a traffic cone in Northern Ireland which was intended for a member of the security forces.’
      • ‘The men, both in their 20s and wearing baseball caps, punched the victim in the face before ramming the pointed end of a traffic cone into his face.’
      • ‘At around 10 pm a man was driving along Ballyvally Road at Mayobridge when he found the road blocked by cones.’
      • ‘Problems with new traffic lights at the notorious Welcome Bay roundabout have resulted in road cones and a temporary ban on right turns from Ohauiti Rd.’
      • ‘On another occasion a man driving towards Otley from Bradford had a traffic cone hurled at his car in the same spot.’
      • ‘It is thought the gunman had moved road cones from work being done in Watling Street, to block the left hand side of the road, forcing the woman driver to slow down and move to the right.’
      • ‘However, the three times British champion crashed on the way out of the Quays after a TV motor bike crew accidentally flipped a traffic cone into her machine.’
      • ‘My pillow was my bag, and I had ingeniously propped a board between a traffic cone with a crack up the side, and a milk crate.’
      • ‘Cross Street, off Victoria Road, had been turned into a dumping ground for temporary road signs, cones, bollards, and even an electrical generator.’
      • ‘Video footage showed him throwing up to a dozen missiles and a traffic cone at police in the White Abbey Road area during his 35-minute involvement.’
      • ‘In several incidents of violence, Mr Bennett and Mr Burns were punched, kicked, struck heavy blows with a baseball bat and assaulted with a traffic cone by the gang.’
      • ‘Jay slows it down a bit, takes out a few road cones and laughs.’
      • ‘There are also several planks of wood, a traffic cone, a section of mesh metal fence and a shopping trolley.’
      • ‘He said that placing cones in the road, obstructing other vehicles from parking, was illegal and would be dealt with accordingly - depending on the seriousness of the obstruction.’
    4. 1.4 An edible wafer container shaped like a cone in which ice cream is served.
      • ‘The 50-rupee note in my pocket will do, I decide. I buy two chocolate flavoured ice cream cones.’
      • ‘Bars, cones, sundaes, ice cream on sticks - each and all of these is welcome while you are catching a tan, having fun or wondering what to have in your lunch break.’
      • ‘He watched in interest as Jessie paid for two ice cream cones made with chocolate ice cream.’
      • ‘I no longer eat chocolate ice cream cones because of that searing memory.’
      • ‘Three burgers, three chocolate ice cream cones, and two hours later, I felt very bloated and quite full.’
      • ‘Ice cream cones will be served; the butterfly wing will be open.’
      • ‘These include sellers of tea, ice-cream cones, soda, buttermilk, toys, trinkets and even small electronic gadgets.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, celery sticks aren't as tempting as overgrown cinnamon buns and chocolate-dipped ice cream cones.’
      • ‘I save the 10 cents it used to cost me for each cup to put the ice cream in, and I can charge 15 cents more for the resulting ice cream cones.’
      • ‘My only other memory would be of how sometime later, possibly on that same day, Uncle Fitz walked with me to the drugstore where he bought us both ice cream cones.’
      • ‘But on a few days of the year his company gives away free ice-cream cones to their employees…’
      • ‘There are wonderful businesses like them scattered all over Scotland, still managing to convince locals to eat ice cream cones in the street, come rain or shine.’
      • ‘The man handed them two chocolate ice-cream cones and they walked off to the park bench.’
      • ‘It will remind you of laughing with friends, truth or dare games at slumber parties, ice cream cones, and all the best things in life.’
      • ‘Her first job was scooping ice-cream cones at the foyer during the school holidays.’
      • ‘Sensing trouble, Daniel shook his head and stuck his chocolate wafer into her cone.’
      • ‘A large crowd gathered in the town centre for the parade, the children enjoying green ice-cream cones as they watched.’
      • ‘The family was going for a walk in the park, enjoying chocolate ice cream cones.’
      • ‘Noted for our ever popular cheese curds and huge ice cream cones, we also have one of the finest assortments of home made cheeses anywhere in the country.’
      • ‘The free ice cream cones will be 27% smaller, at least until this evening.’
    5. 1.5 A ceramic pyramid that melts at a known temperature and is used to indicate the temperature of a kiln.
      • ‘Planters are covered with a clear glaze and fired to cone 05 in an electric kiln.’
      • ‘The imperfections are then cleaned off with tools and the casting is put in the kiln at 1225 cone 6 and becomes vitrified porcelain.’
      • ‘After the tiles were coated, they were loaded into the kilns and fired to cone 5.’
      • ‘When firing clay, the temperature at which you fire is gauged by cones placed in a kiln.’
      • ‘Thus, pyrometric cones give a temperature equivalent, they are not simple temperature-measuring devices.’
      turret, minaret, spire, belfry, obelisk, needle, pyramid, finial, shikara, mirador
      View synonyms
    6. 1.6
      short for cone shell
  • 2The dry fruit of a conifer, typically tapering to a rounded end and formed of a tight array of overlapping scales on a central axis which separate to release the seeds.

    • ‘Today caterpillars and weevils feed on roots, stems, leaves, reproductive cones, and seeds of cycads.’
    • ‘From the Monterey pine belt to bristlecone country, conifers yield cones whose tawny beauty is worth celebrating.’
    • ‘With this interpretation, the entire axis of ovuliferous Cordaianthus can be modified without major rearrangement into the conifer seed cone.’
    • ‘Conifer cones, cone scales, cone seeds, and tiny scaly conifer stems are found at a number of short-shoot sites.’
    • ‘Note that this is a strobilus with possible homology to the ovule-bearing cone of conifers.’
    • ‘Included are partial remains of large trunks up to 33 cm wide and over 8 m long, variously disarticulated foliage, cones, and seeds.’
    • ‘An average of 91 trees within 75 m of the seed traps produced cones.’
    • ‘But that's good news for the tree, since fire opens its serotinous cones to release the seeds, starting the process over again.’
    • ‘Opened cones need to be tumbled as some seeds adhere to the cone scales.’
    • ‘Crossbills and squirrels both feed on the seeds of conifer cones - a dietary triangle that sets the stage for intriguing evolutionary interactions.’
    • ‘The scales of the cone are thin, obovate and have rounded edges.’
    • ‘Pinaceae are Monoecious with small pollen cones and larger seed cones with spirally arranged scales.’
    • ‘After pollination, cones and seed take between 1.5 and 2 years to mature depending upon the elevation and environmental factors such as temperature.’
    • ‘At the end of summer, squirrels store unopened conifer cones on hoarding sites (called middens) located centrally on the territory.’
    • ‘Then, after a few more years. it needs fire to release seed from cone, reduce mature tree to ash to nurture the sandy soil, and then rains to ensure vigorous renewal.’
    • ‘A diversity of seeds, cone scales, and bracts occurred in each deposit, often in abundance.’
    • ‘The large, nutlike seeds found between the scales of the cones are no delicacy, being starchy and bland, but provide a useful food to many peoples.’
    • ‘At least one prolific deposit produces complete stalks with short shoots attached and also produces cones and seeds of associated conifers and cycads.’
    • ‘Amongst other fossil conifers cones were shed rapidly after pollen dispersal.’
    • ‘The production of pollen and seed cones was studied in five branches chosen at random on each individual.’
    1. 2.1 A flower resembling a pine cone, especially that of the hop plant.
      • ‘I covered the plants with rose cones from the garden center.’
      • ‘At the end of the esplanade and its enchantment is another delight; a bellombra, a gigantic tree with great white flowers in the form of cones.’
      • ‘In most varieties, the petals droop after growing outward from the cone, accounting for the name given to the plants in the Ozarks: droops.’
      • ‘Magnus has large, warm purple flowers with an orange cone on strong stems about 90 cm tall and has a very long flowering period from July to October.’
      • ‘At this time of the year dried flowers are a good alternative to fresh, and combinations of seed heads, grasses, dried hydrangeas, interesting branches, cones, moss and fungi work well.’
      • ‘Both have daisy-like flowers with a black cone at the centre, and both need well-drained, humus-rich soil and also benefit from feeding in midsummer.’
      • ‘A careful look at an echinacea flower in full bloom will reveal the source of the name: the dark purple cone of the flower does resemble a sea urchin.’
  • 3Anatomy
    A light-sensitive cell of one of the two types present in the retina of the eye, responding mainly to bright light and responsible for sharpness of vision and color perception.

    Compare with rod (sense 5)
    • ‘An animal's brain distinguishes among colors by comparing the signals it receives from cones containing different opsins.’
    • ‘This test evaluates the cones of the retina and the visual cortex.’
    • ‘Rods are responsible for vision in low light and cones are responsible for color vision.’
    • ‘Color blindness is caused by problems in the pigments of the cones in the retina.’
    • ‘The cornea and lens of the eye ensure that the light rays are focused on the rods and cones of the retina.’


Late Middle English (denoting an apex or vertex): from French cône, via Latin from Greek kōnos.