Curled horns on a sheep.
- An example of a horn is what grows out of a ram's head.
- An example of a horn is what is on a steering wheel to alert other drivers to danger.
- a hard, hollow, bony or keratinous, permanent projection that grows on the head of various hoofed animals, esp. bovid ruminants
- an antler
- anything that protrudes naturally from the head of an animal, as one of the tentacles of a snail, a tuft of feathers on certain birds, etc.
- [usually pl.] a horn or antler figuratively attributed to a cuckold
- the hard, smooth, keratinous substance that forms the horns, nails, beaks, hoofs, or shells of various animals
- any substance like this in appearance, texture, etc.
- a container made by hollowing out a horn: a powder horn
- a drink contained in a horn
- anything shaped like or suggesting a horn; specif.,
- a peninsula or cape
- either end of a crescent
- the pointed part of an anvil
- a projection above the pommel of a cowboy's saddle
- an instrument made of horn and sounded by blowing, as the shofar
- any brass instrument; specif., French horn
- Jazz any wind instrument
- a device with a kind of blaring sound for signaling or warning
- Bible an emblem of glory, strength, or honor
- a horn-shaped speaker
- a horn-shaped antenna
- Geol. a jagged mountain peak resulting from the erosion of several cirques, as the Matterhorn in the Alps
Origin of hornMiddle English from OE, akin to German from Indo-European base an unverified form ?er-, upper part of the body, head from source Classical Latin cornu, Classical Greek keras
- to strike, butt, or gore with the horns
- to furnish with horns
- Archaic to cuckold
around the horn
Origin of hornprob. in allusion to sailing around Cape Horn
blow one's own horn
horn in (on)
on the horns of a dilemma
pull in one's horns
- to hold oneself back; restrain one's impulses or efforts
- to back down; become less dogmatic, positive, zealous, etc.
- One of the hard, usually permanent structures projecting from the head of certain mammals, such as cattle, sheep, goats, or antelopes, consisting of a bony core covered with a sheath of keratinous material.
- A hard protuberance, such as an antler or projection on the head of a giraffe or rhinoceros, that is similar to or suggestive of a horn.
- a. The hard smooth keratinous material forming the outer covering of the horns of cattle or related animals.b. A natural or synthetic substance resembling this material.
- A container, such as a powder horn, made from a horn.
- Something having the shape of a horn, especially:a. A horn of plenty; a cornucopia.b. Either of the ends of a new moon.c. The point of an anvil.d. The pommel of a saddle.e. An ear trumpet.f. A device for projecting sound waves, as in a loudspeaker.g. A hollow, metallic electromagnetic transmission antenna with a circular or rectangular cross section.
- Music a. A wind instrument made of an animal horn.b. A brass instrument, such as a trombone or tuba.c. A French horn.d. A wind instrument, such as a trumpet or saxophone, used in a jazz band.
- a. A usually electrical signaling device that produces a loud resonant sound: an automobile horn.b. Any of various noisemakers operated by blowing or by squeezing a hollow rubber ball.
- Slang A telephone.
intransitive verbhorned, horn·ing, horns
Origin of hornMiddle English from Old English; see ker-1 in Indo-European roots.
top: white rhinoceros and bighorn sheep
(countable and uncountable, plural horns)
- (countable) A hard growth of keratin that protrudes from the top of the head of certain animals, usually paired.
- Any similar real or imaginary growth or projection such as the elongated tusk of a narwhal, the eyestalk of a snail, the pointed growth on the nose of a rhinoceros, or the hornlike projection on the head of a demon or similar.
- An antler.
- (uncountable) The hard substance from which animals' horns are made, sometimes used by man as a material for making various objects.
- an umbrella with a handle made of horn
- An object whose shape resembles a horn, such as cornucopia, the point of an anvil, or a vessel for gunpowder or liquid.
- The high pommel of a saddle; also, either of the projections on a lady's saddle for supporting the leg.
- (architecture) The Ionic volute.
- (nautical) The outer end of a crosstree; also, one of the projections forming the jaws of a gaff, boom, etc.
- (carpentry) A curved projection on the fore part of a plane.
- One of the projections at the four corners of the Jewish altar of burnt offering.
- (countable) Any of several musical wind instruments.
- (countable) An instrument resembling a musical horn and used to signal others.
- hunting horn
- (countable) A loud alarm, especially one on a motor vehicle.
- (countable) A conical device used to direct waves.
- antenna horn
- loudspeaker horn
- (informal, countable) Generally, any brass wind instrument.
- (slang, countable, from the horn-shaped earpieces of old communication systems that used air tubes) A telephone.
- (uncountable, vulgar, slang, definite article) An erection of the penis.
- (countable) A peninsula or crescent-shaped tract of land. "to navigate around the horn."
- (countable) A diacritical mark that may be attached to the top right corner of the letters o and u when writing in Vietnamese, thus forming ơ and ư.
- (botany) An incurved, tapering and pointed appendage found in the flowers of the milkweed (Asclepias).
- When used alone to refer to an instrument, horn can mean either "hunting horn" or "French horn", depending on context. Other instruments are identified by specific adjectives such as "English horn" or "basset horn".
(third-person singular simple present horns, present participle horning, simple past and past participle horned)
- (of an animal) To assault with the horns
From Middle English horn, horne, from Old English horn, from Proto-Germanic *hurną (compare West Frisian hoarn, Dutch hoorn, Low German Hoorn, horn, German Horn, Danish and Swedish horn, Gothic (haurn)), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *ḱer-, (compare Breton kern (“horn”), Latin cornū, Ancient Greek κέρας (keras), Old Church Slavonic сръна (srŭna, “roedeer”), Hittite [script?] (surna, “horn”)[script?], Persian sur, Sanskrit शृङ्ग (ṡṛṅga, “horn”)).