from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. The hard smooth keratinous material forming the outer covering of the horns of cattle or related animals.
  • n. A natural or synthetic substance resembling this material.
  • n. A container, such as a powder horn, made from a horn.
  • n. Something having the shape of a horn, especially:
  • n. A horn of plenty; a cornucopia.
  • n. Either of the ends of a new moon.
  • n. The point of an anvil.
  • n. The pommel of a saddle.
  • n. An ear trumpet.
  • n. A device for projecting sound waves, as in a loudspeaker.
  • n. A hollow, metallic electromagnetic transmission antenna with a circular or rectangular cross section.
  • n. Music A wind instrument made of an animal horn.
  • n. Music A brass wind instrument, such as a trombone or tuba.
  • n. Music A French horn.
  • n. Music A wind instrument, such as a trumpet or saxophone, used in a jazz band.
  • n. A usually electrical signaling device that produces a loud resonant sound: an automobile horn.
  • n. Any of various noisemakers operated by blowing or by squeezing a hollow rubber ball.
  • n. Slang A telephone.
  • intransitive v. To join without being invited; intrude. Used with in.
  • idiom blow Informal To brag or boast about oneself.
  • idiom draw Informal To restrain oneself; draw back.
  • idiom draw Informal To retreat from a previously taken position, view, or stance.
  • idiom draw Informal To economize.
  • idiom on the horns of a dilemma Faced with two equally undesirable alternatives.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A hard growth of keratin that protrudes from the top of the head of certain animals.
  • n. The hard substance from which animals' horns are made, sometimes used by man as a material for making various objects.
  • n. Any of several musical wind instruments.
  • n. An instrument resembling a musical horn and used to signal others.
  • n. A loud alarm, especially one on a motor vehicle.
  • n. A conical device used to direct waves.
  • n. Generally, any brass wind instrument.
  • n. A telephone.
  • n. An erection of the penis.
  • n. A peninsula or crescent-shaped tract of land. "to navigate around the horn."
  • n. 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.
  • v. To assault with the horns
  • v. To cuckold

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A hard, projecting, and usually pointed organ, growing upon the heads of certain animals, esp. of the ruminants, as cattle, goats, and the like. The hollow horns of the Ox family consist externally of true horn, and are never shed.
  • n. The antler of a deer, which is of bone throughout, and annually shed and renewed.
  • n. Any natural projection or excrescence from an animal, resembling or thought to resemble a horn in substance or form
  • n. A projection from the beak of a bird, as in the hornbill.
  • n. A tuft of feathers on the head of a bird, as in the horned owl.
  • n. A hornlike projection from the head or thorax of an insect, or the head of a reptile, or fish.
  • n. A sharp spine in front of the fins of a fish, as in the horned pout.
  • n. An incurved, tapering and pointed appendage found in the flowers of the milkweed (Asclepias).
  • n. Something made of a horn, or in resemblance of a horn.
  • n. A wind instrument of music; originally, one made of a horn (of an ox or a ram); now applied to various elaborately wrought instruments of brass or other metal, resembling a horn in shape.
  • n. A drinking cup, or beaker, as having been originally made of the horns of cattle.
  • n. The cornucopia, or horn of plenty.
  • n. A vessel made of a horn; esp., one designed for containing powder; anciently, a small vessel for carrying liquids.
  • n. The pointed beak of an anvil.
  • n. The high pommel of a saddle; also, either of the projections on a lady's saddle for supporting the leg.
  • n. The Ionic volute.
  • n. The outer end of a crosstree; also, one of the projections forming the jaws of a gaff, boom, etc.
  • n. A curved projection on the fore part of a plane.
  • n. One of the projections at the four corners of the Jewish altar of burnt offering.
  • n. One of the curved ends of a crescent; esp., an extremity or cusp of the moon when crescent-shaped.
  • n. The curving extremity of the wing of an army or of a squadron drawn up in a crescentlike form.
  • n. The tough, fibrous material of which true horns are composed, being, in the Ox family, chiefly albuminous, with some phosphate of lime; also, any similar substance, as that which forms the hoof crust of horses, sheep, and cattle.
  • n. A symbol of strength, power, glory, exaltation, or pride.
  • n. An emblem of a cuckold; -- used chiefly in the plural.
  • n. the telephone.
  • n. a body of water shaped like a horn.
  • transitive v. To furnish with horns; to give the shape of a horn to.
  • transitive v. To cause to wear horns; to cuckold.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To furnish with horns.
  • To cause to wear “horns” as the mark of a cuckold; cuckold.
  • To give the shape of a horn to.
  • To treat to a charivari, or mock serenade of tin horns, etc. See horning, 2.
  • To adjust (the frames of a ship) in process of construction so that they shall be exactly at right angles with the line of the keel.
  • To operate upon by means of a horn-press or horning-press. See horn, n., 4 .
  • n. An excrescent growth upon the head in certain animals, serving as a weapon of offense or defense. See def. 3.
  • n. An antler of a deer.
  • n. Hardened and thickened epidermis or cuticle, as that of which nails, claws, and hoofs consist, differing from hair or other cuticular structures chiefly in density and massiveness.
  • n. Something made of horn, or like or likened to a horn in position, shape, use, or purpose.
  • n. Specifically— A feeler; a tentacle; an antenna; an ovipositor; also, the tuft of feathers upon the head of sundry birds, resembling a horn; a plumicorn, as that of various owls.
  • n. A wind-instrument more or less resembling a horn in shape and size, and originally made of horn: as, a hunting-horn; a tin horn. In the simpler forms the horn is used chiefly to give signals, producing single or slightly variable loud tones. The hunting-horn, however, was early elaborated and made capable of producing a variety of calls, fanfares, and simple tnnes. Wood, ivory, and various metals have been used for making horns.
  • n. By extension, a musical wind-instrnment of the trumpet class, developed from the hunting-horn (previously modified for use in orchestras under the name corno di caccia), and distinctively called the French horn, having a slender tube of brass or silver, several feet long, gracefully curved upon itself, terminating in a flaring bell, and blown through a mouthpiece of conoidal bore. Its tones are harmonics of the natural tone of the tube, produced by slightly varying the method and pressure of the blowing. Its compass is about four octaves, the series of tones in the two upper octaves being diatonic and partially chromatic. In addition to these primary or open tones, modified or closed tones are produced by inserting the hand into the bell, so as to alter the pitch of an open tone chromatically. The pitch of the fundamental tone, and thus of the whole series of open tones, is altered by detachable crooks, which increase the actual length of the tube. From eight to twelve such crooks are made, pitching the instrument in nearly all the chromatic keys between the second C below middle C and the second Bb below that. The key in which the instrnment is to be set is indicated at the beginning of each piece; but the music is written in the key of C. The pitch of the tube is still further affected by the tuning-slide, which is one of the curves of the tube so arranged that it can be pushed in or out at will. Ventils or valves are sometimes added to the tube to facilitate rapid passages. Horns are the most valuable orchestral instruments of their class. Their tone is mellow, pervasive, and blending, with a peculiar romantic quality. The French horn is sometimes used singly or as a solo instrument, but in orchestras it is nearly always combined in pairs or in quartets, and used both for melodic effects, especially in fanfares and similar figures, and for sustained chords as a harmonic basis for free instrumentation.
  • n. A drinking-vessel of the shape of a horn or made of a horn. See drinking-horn.
  • n. A long projection, frequently of silver or gold, worn on the forehead by natives of some Asiatic countries.
  • n. One of the extremities (cnsps) of the moon when waxing and waning, and hence of any crescent-shaped object.
  • n. The horn of a cow or other animal, or, now, any similar case or fiask, used for holding gunpowder; a powderhorn or powder-flask.
  • n. plural A head-dress worn during the first half of the fifteenth century, the general shape of which was that of a pair of horns spreading like those of an ox. These head-dresses consisted of stuffs embroidered and set with jewels, or of nets (compare crespine) by which the hair was entirely or almost entirely concealed, a veil covering the whole.
  • n. A projecting part of a head-dress, especially of that of women in the fourteenth century.
  • n. (J) Eccles., either of the corners or angles made by the front and ends of an altar. In Christian churches, that at the left of the priest when facing the altar is the gospel horn; that at his right, the epistle horn.
  • n. In the Bible, a symbol of strength, power, or glory.
  • n. In railroad-cars, a part rigidly fastened to the coupler or draw-bar, by means of which the coupler and buffer-springs are connected.
  • n. Either of two projections on a side-saddle, serving to support the right leg.
  • n. The beak of an anvil.
  • n. A branch of a subdivided stream.
  • n. Nautical, one of the ends of the crosstrees.
  • n. One of the alternatives of a dilemma. See dilemma, 1.
  • n. The imaginary projection on the brow of a cuckold.
  • n. In botany, any process or appendage which is shaped somewhat like the horn of an animal, as the spur of the petals in Linaria, or the crest borne by the hoods in Asclepias.
  • n. A draught of strong liquor: as, to take a horn. See def. 4 .
  • n. In architecture, the Ionic volute.
  • n. In sheet-metal work, an attachment to a press which, in its most simple form, resembles the horn of an anvil. In seaming and pressing locked sheets of tin together it serves as the anvil on which the joined sheets are laid while the press bends the seams down. It gives name to the work of horning, or seaming with a horn, and to the horning-press, a press on which horning is done.
  • n. In organ-building, a reed-stop with a tone like that of the French horn.
  • n. In golf, same as bone, 10.
  • n. The bare branch of a leafless tree. [Figurative.]
  • n. One of the branches of the V-shaped comb found in such breeds of poultry as the Polish and La Flèeche.
  • n. In archery: The tip at each end of a bow, usually made of horn and provided with a nock for fastening the bowstring.
  • n. A reinforcement at the butt of an arrow, fitted with a nock to receive the bowstring: usually made of horn.
  • n. The portion of a composite bow which is made of horn: see bow, 2.
  • n. In machinery, a curved lever, pivoted on the side of a planing-machine, which, on being knocked over by the tappets on the moving table, gives, through a linkage, the reversing movement to the driving mechanism.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a brass musical instrument with a brilliant tone; has a narrow tube and a flared bell and is played by means of valves
  • n. an alarm device that makes a loud warning sound
  • n. one of the bony outgrowths on the heads of certain ungulates
  • n. any hard protuberance from the head of an organism that is similar to or suggestive of a horn
  • v. stab or pierce with a horn or tusk
  • n. a brass musical instrument consisting of a conical tube that is coiled into a spiral and played by means of valves
  • n. a noise made by the driver of an automobile to give warning
  • n. a high pommel of a Western saddle (usually metal covered with leather)
  • n. a device on an automobile for making a warning noise
  • n. the material (mostly keratin) that covers the horns of ungulates and forms hooves and claws and nails
  • n. a device having the shape of a horn
  • n. a noisemaker (as at parties or games) that makes a loud noise when you blow through it


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old English.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English horn, from Proto-Germanic *hurnan (compare Dutch hoorn, German Horn, Gothic 𐌷𐌰𐌿𐍂𐌽 (haurn)), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱer-, (compare Breton kern ("horn"), Latin cornū, Ancient Greek κέρας, Old Church Slavonic сръна (srŭna, "roedeer"), Hittite  (surna, "horn"), Persian sur, Sanskrit शृङ्ग (ṡṛṅga, "horn")).



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  • Old English horn "horn of an animal," also "wind instrument" (originally made from animal horns), from Proto-Germanic *hurnaz (cf. German Horn, Dutch horen, Gothic haurn), from PIE *ker- "horn; head, uppermost part of the body," with derivatives refering to horned animals, horn-shaped objects and projecting parts (cf. Greek karnon "horn," Latin cornu "horn," Sanskrit srngam "horn," Persian sar "head," Avestan sarah- "head," Greek koryphe "head," Latin cervus "deer," Welsh carw "deer"). Reference to car horns is first recorded 1901. Figurative senses of Latin cornu included "salient point, chief argument; wing, flank; power, courage, strength." Jazz slang sense of "trumpet" is by 1921. Meaning "telephone" is by 1945. - Online Etymology

    March 12, 2013

  • A pointed mountain peak, typically pyramidal, bounded by the walls of three or more cirques. Headward erosion has cut prominent faces and ridges into the peak. When a peak has four symmetrical faces, it is called a matterhorn.

    November 18, 2008