[ hawrn-beem ]
/ ˈhɔrnˌbim /


any North American shrub or tree belonging to the genus Carpinus, of the birch family, yielding a hard, heavy wood, as C. caroliniana (American hornbeam).

Origin of hornbeam

First recorded in 1570–80; horn + beam
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hornbeam

British Dictionary definitions for hornbeam


/ (ˈhɔːnˌbiːm) /


any tree of the betulaceous genus Carpinus, such as C. betulus of Europe and Asia, having smooth grey bark and hard white wood
the wood of any of these trees
Brit equivalent: ironwood

Word Origin for hornbeam

C14: from horn + beam, referring to its tough wood
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

Word Origin and History for hornbeam



1570s, from horn (n.) + beam (n.), preserving the original sense of the latter word; so called in reference to its hard wood.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper