from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Any of various large stinging wasps of the family Vespidae, chiefly of the genera Vespa and Vespula, that characteristically build large papery nests.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A large wasp, of the genus Vespa, with a brown and yellow striped body and capable of inflicting a serious sting.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A large, strong wasp. The European species (Vespa crabro) is of a dark brown and yellow color. It is very pugnacious, and its sting is very severe. Its nest is constructed of a paperlike material, and the layers of comb are hung together by columns. The American white-faced hornet (Vespa maculata) is larger and has similar habits.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. An insect of the wasp family, of the genus Vespa, much larger and stronger than wasps of other species, and capable of inflicting a more severe and painful sting.
- n. Figuratively, a person who annoys by frequent and persistent petty attacks.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. large stinging paper wasp
Middle English hornet, alteration (probably influenced by horn, horn) of hernet, from Old English hyrnet.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English hernet, from Old English hyrnetu, hyrnete, from Proto-Germanic *hurznutō (compare German Hornisse), alteration of Proto-Germanic *hurzulōn (compare Dutch horzel), from Proto-Indo-European *k̑érh₂sr- (compare Welsh creyryn 'wasp', Latin crābrō 'hornet', Tocharian kronše 'bee', Lithuanian širšė 'wasp', Old Church Slavonic сръшень (srŭšenĭ) 'hornet', Albanian grerë, grenzë 'wasp, hornet'). (Wiktionary)