1. a dark, fine-grained metamorphic rock, the result of recrystallization of siliceous or argillaceous sediments by contact metamorphism.

Origin of hornfels

1850–55; < German, equivalent to Horn horn + Fels rock, cliff
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for hornfels


  1. a hard compact fine-grained metamorphic rock formed by the action of heat from a magmatic intrusion on neighbouring sedimentary rocksAlso called: hornstone

Word Origin for hornfels

German: literally, horn rock
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

hornfels in Science


  1. A fine-grained metamorphic rock having a uniform grain size and formed by contact metamorphism.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.