- any large, stinging paper wasp of the family Vespidae, as Vespa crabro (giant hornet), introduced into the U.S. from Europe, or Vespula maculata (bald-faced hornet or white-faced hornet), of North America.
Origin of hornet
Examples from the Web for hornet
The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps also use the supersonic F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter to guide other jets to their targets.Air Force Pilots Say They're Flying Blind Against ISIS
October 10, 2014
But that's abstract enough to allow people to read into it what they will and avoid the hornet's nest of contemporary politics.A Day For Politics Or Not
September 24, 2012
As any journalist who has poked at this hornet's nest can tell you, myself included, the wrath of the 4chan hive is no picnic.The Internet Mob's Porn Bomb
January 10, 2010
He went a-peekin' an' a-pryin' round my ears, as if he'd found a hornet's nest.Meadow Grass
Our peaceful convent was from thenceforth like a bee-hive into which a hornet had entered.My Double Life
He recognized the nest as that of a variety of hornet which is large and valiant.Rodney, the Ranger
John V. Lane
The hornet was too small to be struck by the arrows of the lightning.
So the hornet is now an oriole, a bird that is loved by every one.
- any of various large social wasps of the family Vespidae, esp Vespa crabro of Europe, that can inflict a severe sting
- hornet's nest a strongly unfavourable reaction (often in the phrase stir up a hornet's nest)
Word Origin and History for hornet
Old English hyrnet, hurnitu "large wasp, beetle," probably from Proto-Germanic *hurz-nut- (cf. Old Saxon hornut, Middle Dutch huersel, Dutch horzel, Old High German hornaz, German Hornisse "hornet"), from PIE imitative (buzzing) root *krs-, as preserved in Old Church Slavonic srusa, Lithuanian szirszu "wasp." On this theory, the English word (as well as German Hornisse) was altered by influence of horn, to suggest either "horner" (from the sting) or "horn-blower" (from the buzz). Cf. also Old Saxon hornobero "hornet," literally "trumpeter."