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

Contemporary Examples of hornbeam

  • The maple trees in Westminster Abbey represent modesty and the hornbeam trees represent resilience.

    The Daily Beast logo
    What's with the Trees?

    Tom Sykes

    April 29, 2011

Historical Examples of hornbeam

British Dictionary definitions for hornbeam



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