Definition of piñata in English:



North American
  • (especially in Spanish-speaking communities) a decorated figure of an animal containing toys and candy that is suspended from a height and broken open by blindfolded children as part of a celebration.

    • ‘By now most of my readers have seen the picture of the young illegal immigrant girl who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border while hiding inside a piñata.’
    • ‘They navigate the Ferris wheel and the merry-go-round and play games along the way to collect enough tickets to win the piñata.’
    • ‘Dodging bullets as they rained down through the streamers and piñatas, following the volley of shots that substituted bells.’
    • ‘Lieberman didn't have any big ideas for us to do in art class so she gave us some balloons, some plaster, and some paint and told us to make piñatas.’
    • ‘Finally, Charles, Xiayou, and Ashley and Bob, joined in the festivities, including smacking down a piñata.’
    • ‘We went to a party with 2 amazing grind core bands, Dread Knox and Cowboy Killas, a bar with $200 of free liquor, 4 kegs and a piñata stuffed with candy and condoms.’
    • ‘‘Officers began to take the piñatas out of the back seat, and one [of the several piñatas in the car] seemed to be much heavier than the others,’ said Vince Bond, a spokesman for U.S. Customs & Border Protection.’
    • ‘They are not piñatas or Christmas crackers - they are jack-in-the-boxes of death.’
    • ‘The messiest of the activities on offer was the creation of piñatas using papier-mache and brightly coloured paint.’
    • ‘Cinco de Mayo is celebrated with the ceremonial burning of a piñata in the shape of King George, which is referred to as ‘the Guy.’’
    • ‘The evening closed with an innovation, the smashing of a haggis piñata, which thankfully contained candy rather than ground lamb's meat.’
    • ‘The whiskey and stew were in plentiful supply and Paddy's two-year-old son Dylan was bashing a handmade Union Jack piñata with a shillelagh.’
    • ‘I was still the one who stayed on the sidelines while everyone else dove in for the candy after the piñata broke.’
    • ‘Party officials brought a single Winnie the Pooh piñata to lure local families out from their dirt-floored shacks.’
    • ‘The small spot is a festive clutter of petite piñatas, garlands of chili pepper lights and paper cutouts, big windows decorated with a spinning police light, cacti and a coffin.’
    • ‘Top University of Arizona administrators and astronomers celebrated this legislative end run by throwing a party, the centerpiece of which was a papier-mâché piñata in the shape of a Mount Graham red squirrel.’
    • ‘People like Norma and Allen, who are trying to make a go of a small shop selling flowers and piñatas near the San Fernando Cemetery, in one of San Antonio's poorest areas.’
    • ‘In increasingly Hispanic South Central L.A., tiny bodegas selling milk, diapers, and piñatas are replacing liquor stores.’
    • ‘Wood panelling lines the walls, and bright-coloured decorations abound, including one particularly large and intimidating parrot piñata.’
    • ‘And if you behave yourself, I have a piñata I bought that is in the car, I will let you demolish it.’


Mid 19th century: Spanish, literally pot.