having horns (often used in combination): a horned beast; blunt-horned.
having or wearing a horn-shaped protuberance, ornament, or the like: the horned crags.
having a crescent-shaped part or form.

Origin of horned

Middle English word dating back to 1250–1300; see origin at horn, -ed3
Related formshorn·ed·ness [hawr-nid-nis] /ˈhɔr nɪd nɪs/, nounun·horned, adjective




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.
  1. a wind instrument, originally formed from the hollow horn of an animal but now usually made of brass or other metal or plastic.
  2. 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.
  1. a tube of varying cross section used in some loudspeakers to couple the diaphragm to the sound-transmitting space.
  2. 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.
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.

verb (used with object)

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.

Origin of horn

before 900; Middle English horn(e) (noun), Old English horn; cognate with Dutch horen, Old Norse, Danish, Swedish horn, German Horn, Gothic haurn, Latin cornu cornu, Irish, Welsh corn; akin to Greek kéras horn (see cerat-)
Related formshorn·ish, adjectivehorn·less, adjectivehorn·less·ness, nounhorn·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for horned

Contemporary Examples of horned

Historical Examples of horned

  • If I am to be horned like a bull, I'll use those same horns.

    The Strolling Saint

    Raphael Sabatini

  • A horned toad is a good example for us to work out in this department.


    Leon Luther Pray

  • Don't look any more like Clayte than it does like a horned toad.

  • Sweetbreads are made in Chicago of the pancreases of horned cattle.

  • A horned owl, with eyes like auntie's when she looks "'stonished."

British Dictionary definitions for horned



having a horn, horns, or hornlike parts
Derived Formshornedness (ˈhɔːnɪdnɪs), noun



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
  1. the constituent substance, mainly keratin, of horns, hooves, etc
  2. (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
  1. a device for producing a warning or signalling noise
  2. (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
  1. 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
  2. any such device used to spread or focus sound, such as the device attached to an electrical loudspeaker in a public address system
  3. 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
  1. to suppress or control one's feelings, esp of anger, enthusiasm, or passion
  2. to withdraw a previous statement
  3. to economize
on the horns of a dilemma
  1. in a situation involving a choice between two equally unpalatable alternatives
  2. in an awkward situation

verb (tr)

to provide with a horn or horns
to gore or butt with a horn
See also horn in
Derived Formshornless, adjectivehornlike, adjective

Word Origin for horn

Old English; related to Old Norse horn, Gothic haurn, Latin cornu horn
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 horned



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.



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

horned in Medicine




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
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

horned in Science



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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with horned


In addition to the idioms beginning with horn

  • horn in on
  • horns of a dilemma, on the

also see:

  • blow one's own horn
  • lock horns
  • pull in one's horns
  • take the bull by the horns
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.