- one of the bony, permanent, hollow paired growths, often curved and pointed, that project from the upper part of the head of certain ungulate mammals, as cattle, sheep, goats, or antelopes.
- a similar growth, sometimes of hair, as the median horn or horns on the snout of the rhinoceros, or the tusk of the narwhal.
- a process projecting from the head of an animal and suggestive of such a growth, as a feeler, tentacle, or crest.
- the bony substance of which such animal growths are composed.
- any similar substance, as that forming tortoise shell, hoofs, nails, or corns.
- an article made of the material of an animal horn or like substance, as a thimble, spoon, or shoehorn.
- any projection or extremity resembling the horn of an animal.
- something resembling or suggesting an animal horn: a drinking horn.
- a part resembling an animal horn attributed to deities, demons, etc.: the devil's horn.
- Usually horns. the imaginary projections on a cuckold's brow.
- a wind instrument, originally formed from the hollow horn of an animal but now usually made of brass or other metal or plastic.
- French horn.
- something used as or resembling such a wind instrument.
- Slang. a trumpet.
- an instrument for sounding a warning signal: an automobile horn.
- Aeronautics. any of certain short, armlike levers on the control surfaces of an airplane.
- a tube of varying cross section used in some loudspeakers to couple the diaphragm to the sound-transmitting space.
- Slang.a loudspeaker.
- Slang. a telephone or radiotelephone: I've been on the horn all morning.
- the high protuberant part at the front and top of certain saddles; a pommel, especially a high one.
- Carpentry. (in a door or window frame) that part of a jamb extending above the head.
- one of the curved extremities of a crescent, especially of the crescent moon.
- a crescent-shaped tract of land.
- a pyramidal mountain peak, especially one having concave faces carved by glaciation.
- a symbol of power or strength, as in the Bible: a horn of salvation.
- each of the alternatives of a dilemma.
- the narrow, more pointed part of an anvil.
- ear tuft.
- Metalworking. a projection at the side of the end of a rolled sheet or strip, caused by unevenness of the roll due to wear.
- Horology. (in a lever escapement) either of the two prongs at the end of the lever fork guarding against overbanking when the guard pin is in the crescent.
- to cuckold.
- to butt or gore with the horns.
- Shipbuilding. to set up (a frame or bulkhead of a vessel being built) at a proper angle to the keel with due regard to the inclination of the keel on the ways; plumb.
- made of horn.
- blow/toot one's own horn, Informal. to publicize or boast about one's abilities or achievements: He's a bright fellow, but likes to blow his own horn too much.
- draw/pull in one's horns, to restrain oneself or become less belligerent; retreat: Since he lost so much gambling, he's drawn in his horns a bit.
- horn in, Informal. to thrust oneself forward obtrusively; intrude or interrupt: Every time we try to have a private conversation, the boss horns in.
- lock horns, to conflict, quarrel, or disagree: The administration and the staff locked horns over the proposed measures.
- on the horns of a dilemma, confronted with two equally disagreeable choices.
Origin of horn
- a device for securing a door, gate, lid, drawer, or the like in position when closed, consisting of a bolt or system of bolts propelled and withdrawn by a mechanism operated by a key, dial, etc.
- a contrivance for fastening or securing something.
- (in a firearm)
- any device or part for stopping temporarily the motion of a mechanism.
- an enclosed chamber in a canal, dam, etc., with gates at each end, for raising or lowering vessels from one level to another by admitting or releasing water.
- an air lock or decompression chamber.
- complete and unchallenged control; an unbreakable hold: The congresswoman has a lock on the senatorial nomination.
- Slang. someone or something certain of success; sure thing: He's a lock to win the championship.
- Wrestling. any of various holds, especially a hold secured on the arm, leg, or head: leg lock.
- Horology. (in an escapement) the overlap between a tooth of an escape wheel and the surface of the pallet locking it.
- Metalworking. a projection or recession in the mating face of a forging die.
- to fasten or secure (a door, window, building, etc.) by the operation of a lock or locks.
- to shut in a place fastened by a lock or locks, as for security or restraint.
- to make fast or immovable by or as if by a lock: He locked the steering wheel on his car.
- to make fast or immovable, as by engaging parts: to lock the wheels of a wagon.
- to join or unite firmly by interlinking or intertwining: to lock arms.
- to hold fast in an embrace: She was locked in his arms.
- to move (a ship) by means of a lock or locks, as in a canal (often followed by through, in, out, down, or up).
- to furnish with locks, as a canal.
- to become locked: This door locks with a key.
- to become fastened, fixed, or interlocked: gears that lock into place.
- to go or pass by means of a lock or locks, as a vessel.
- to construct locks in waterways.
- lock in,
- to commit unalterably: to lock in the nomination of the party's candidates.
- (of an investor) to be unable or unwilling to sell or shift securities.
- lock off, to enclose (a waterway) with a lock.
- lock on, to track or follow a target or object automatically by radar or other electronic means.
- lock out,
- to keep out by or as if by a lock.
- to subject (employees) to a lockout.
- lock up,
- to imprison for a crime.
- Printing.to make (type) immovable in a chase by securing the quoins.
- to fasten or secure with a lock or locks.
- to lock the doors of a house, automobile, etc.
- to fasten or fix firmly, as by engaging parts.
- lock horns, to come into conflict; clash: to lock horns with a political opponent.
- lock, stock, and barrel, completely; entirely; including every part, item, or facet, no matter how small or insignificant: We bought the whole business, lock, stock, and barrel.
- under lock and key, securely locked up: The documents were under lock and key.
Origin of lock1
- Cape See Cape Horn
- either of a pair of permanent outgrowths on the heads of cattle, antelopes, sheep, etc, consisting of a central bony core covered with layers of keratinRelated adjectives: corneous, keratoid
- the outgrowth from the nasal bone of a rhinoceros, consisting of a mass of fused hairs
- any hornlike projection or process, such as the eyestalk of a snail
- the antler of a deer
- the constituent substance, mainly keratin, of horns, hooves, etc
- (in combination)horn-rimmed spectacles
- a container or device made from this substance or an artificial substitutea shoe horn; a drinking horn
- an object or part resembling a horn in shape, such as the points at either end of a crescent, the point of an anvil, the pommel of a saddle, or a cornucopia
- a primitive musical wind instrument made from the horn of an animal
- any musical instrument consisting of a pipe or tube of brass fitted with a mouthpiece, with or without valvesSee hunting horn, French horn, cor anglais
- jazz slang any wind instrument
- a device for producing a warning or signalling noise
- (in combination)a foghorn
- (usually plural) the hornlike projection attributed to certain devils, deities, etc
- (usually plural) the imaginary hornlike parts formerly supposed to appear on the forehead of a cuckold
- Also called: horn balance an extension of an aircraft control surface that projects in front of the hinge providing aerodynamic assistance in moving the control
- Also called: acoustic horn, exponential horna hollow conical device coupled to the diaphragm of a gramophone to control the direction and quality of the sound
- any such device used to spread or focus sound, such as the device attached to an electrical loudspeaker in a public address system
- Also called: horn antennaa microwave aerial, formed by flaring out the end of a waveguide
- geology another name for pyramidal peak
- a stretch of land or water shaped like a horn
- British slang an erection of the penis
- Bible a symbol of power, victory, or successin my name shall his horn be exalted
- blow one's horn US and Canadian to boast about oneself; bragBrit equivalent: blow one's own trumpet
- draw in one's horns or pull in one's horns
- to suppress or control one's feelings, esp of anger, enthusiasm, or passion
- to withdraw a previous statement
- to economize
- on the horns of a dilemma
- in a situation involving a choice between two equally unpalatable alternatives
- in an awkward situation
- to provide with a horn or horns
- to gore or butt with a horn
- a device fitted to a gate, door, drawer, lid, etc, to keep it firmly closed and often to prevent access by unauthorized persons
- a similar device attached to a machine, vehicle, etc, to prevent use by unauthorized personsa steering lock
- a section of a canal or river that may be closed off by gates to control the water level and the raising and lowering of vessels that pass through it
- (as modifier)a lock gate
- the jamming, fastening, or locking together of parts
- British the extent to which a vehicle's front wheels will turn to the right or leftthis car has a good lock
- a mechanism that detonates the charge of a gun
- US and Canadian informal a person or thing that is certain to win or to succeedshe is a lock for the Academy Award
- lock, stock, and barrel completely; entirely
- any wrestling hold in which a wrestler seizes a part of his opponent's body and twists it or otherwise exerts pressure upon it
- Also called: lock forward rugby either of two players who make up the second line of the scrum and apply weight to the forwards in the front line
- a gas bubble in a hydraulic system or a liquid bubble in a pneumatic system that stops or interferes with the fluid flow in a pipe, capillary, etcan air lock
- to fasten (a door, gate, etc) or (of a door, etc) to become fastened with a lock, bolt, etc, so as to prevent entry or exit
- (tr) to secure (a building) by locking all doors, windows, etc
- to fix or become fixed together securely or inextricably
- to become or cause to become rigid or immovablethe front wheels of the car locked
- (when tr, often passive) to clasp or entangle (someone or each other) in a struggle or embrace
- (tr) to furnish (a canal) with locks
- (tr) to move (a vessel) through a system of locks
- lock horns (esp of two equally matched opponents) to become engaged in argument or battle
- lock the stable door after the horse has bolted or lock the stable door after the horse has been stolen to take precautions after harm has been done
- a strand, curl, or cluster of hair
- a tuft or wisp of wool, cotton, etc
- (plural) mainly literary hair, esp when curly or fine
Word Origin and History for lock horns
"means of fastening," Old English loc "bolt, fastening; barrier, enclosure," from Proto-Germanic *lukan (cf. Old Norse lok "fastening, lock," Gothic usluks "opening," Old High German loh "dungeon," German Loch "opening, hole," Dutch luik "shutter, trapdoor"). "The great diversity of meaning in the Teut. words seems to indicate two or more independent but formally identical substantival formations from the root."
The Old English sense "barrier, enclosure" led to the specific meaning "barrier on a river" (c.1300), and the more specific sense "gate and sluice system on a water channel used as a means of raising and lowering boats" (1570s). Wrestling sense is from c.1600. Phrase under lock and key attested from early 14c.
"tress of hair," Old English locc "lock of hair, curl," from Proto-Germanic *lukkoz (cf. Old Norse lokkr, Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Dutch lok, Old High German loc, German Locke "lock of hair"), from PIE *lugnos-, perhaps related to Greek lygos "pliant twig, withe," Lithuanian lugnas "flexible."
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.
"to fasten with a lock," c.1300, from Old English lucan "to lock, to close" (class II strong verb; past tense leac, past participle locen), from the same root as lock (n.1). Cognate with Old Frisian luka "to close," Old Saxon lukan, Old High German luhhan, Old Norse luka, Gothic galukan. Meaning "to embrace closely" is from 1610s. Related: Locked; locking. Slang lock horns "fight" is from 1839.
1690s, "to furnish with horns," from horn (n.). Earlier in figurative sense of "to cuckold" (1540s). Meaning "to push with the horns" (of cattle, buffalo, etc.) is from 1851, American English; phrase horn in "intrude" is by 1880, American English, originally cowboy slang.
- One of the hard, usually permanent structures projecting from the head of certain mammals, such as cattle, consisting of a bony core covered with a sheath of keratinous material.
- A hard protuberance that is similar to or suggestive of a horn.
- The hard, smooth keratinous material forming the outer covering of animal horns.
- Any of the major subdivisions of the lateral ventricle in the cerebral hemisphere of the brain: the frontal horn, occipital horn, and temporal horn.cornu
- Either of the bony growths projecting from the upper part of the head of certain hoofed mammals, such as cattle, sheep, and goats. The horns of these animals are never shed, and they consist of bone covered by keratin.
- A hard growth that looks like a horn, such as an antler or a growth on the head of a giraffe or rhinoceros. Unlike true horns, antlers are shed yearly and have a velvety covering, and the horns of a rhinoceros are made not of bone but of hairy skin fused with keratin.
- The hard durable substance that forms the outer covering of true horns. It consists of keratin.
Idioms and Phrases with lock horns
Become embroiled in conflict, as in At the town meeting Kate and Steve locked horns over increasing the property tax. This expression alludes to how stags and bulls use their horns to fight one another. [First half of 1800s]