[hawrn-boo k]
See more synonyms for hornbook on Thesaurus.com
  1. a leaf or page containing the alphabet, religious materials, etc., covered with a sheet of transparent horn and fixed in a frame with a handle, formerly used in teaching children to read.
  2. a primer or book of rudiments.

Origin of hornbook

First recorded in 1580–90; horn + book
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for hornbook


  1. a page bearing a religious text or the alphabet, held in a frame with a thin window of flattened cattle horn over it
  2. any elementary primer
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