1. any large bird of the family Bucerotidae, of the Old World tropics, characterized by a very large bill usually surmounted by a horny protuberance.

Origin of hornbill

First recorded in 1765–75; horn + bill2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for hornbill

Historical Examples of hornbill

  • The majority of species of hornbill shun the vicinity of human beings.

  • The actions of the hornbill are in keeping with its appearance.

    Jungle Folk

    Douglas Dewar

  • If the hornbill be the clown of the forest, the adjutant is the buffoon of the open plain.

    Jungle Folk

    Douglas Dewar

  • The Hornbill is famous for the size and shape of its bill, which is very large.

  • "I can swallow a plantain at one gulp," said Hornbill proudly.

    The Sa'-Zada Tales

    William Alexander Fraser

British Dictionary definitions for hornbill


  1. any bird of the family Bucerotidae of tropical Africa and Asia, having a very large bill with a basal bony protuberance: order Coraciiformes (kingfishers, etc)
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 hornbill

1773, from horn (n.) + bill (n.2).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper