Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[ingk-hawrn] /ˈɪŋkˌhɔrn/
a small container of horn or other material, formerly used to hold writing ink.
Origin of inkhorn
Middle English word dating back to 1350-1400; See origin at ink, horn Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for inkhorn
Historical Examples
  • He fetched an inkhorn set into a tripod, a sandarach, and a roll of clean parchment that was tied around with a green ribbon.

    The Fifth Queen Crowned Ford Madox Ford
  • There was an inkhorn and paper at a little table and he wrote a line and signed it.

    The Mercenary W. J. Eccott
  • Our wit is printed, not spoken; our best wits behind an inkhorn have sometimes been the veriest logs in society.

    The Wits and Beaux of Society Grace Wharton and Philip Wharton
  • In his hand was his weapon, a pen; his skull was an inkhorn, and his cap its lid.

    Thackerayana William Makepeace Thackeray
  • And when he heard her reply, he said to 'Azeez, Give me an inkhorn and paper, and a pen of brass.

  • He recalled this now, as he took his inkhorn from the dusty table.

  • They were large brown nuts or seeds, and hanging from his girdle with his pen and inkhorn they clashed when he walked.

    Puck of Pook's Hill Rudyard Kipling
  • So she said, Bring me an inkhorn and paper, and a pen of brass.

  • A shabby escrivano from the prison advanced bowing, with an inkhorn, shaking a wet goose-quill.

    Romance Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer
  • A slave then brought in a writing-table, a scroll of parchment, and an inkhorn.

British Dictionary definitions for inkhorn


(formerly) a small portable container for ink, usually made from horn
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for inkhorn

late 14c., "small portable vessel (originally made of horn) for holding ink," from ink (n.) + horn (n.). Used attributively as an adjective for things (especially vocabulary) supposed to be beloved by scribblers and bookworms (1540s). An Old English word for the thing was blæchorn.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for inkhorn

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for inkhorn

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for inkhorn