Compare graben.

Origin of horst

1890–95; < German: “heap, cluster,” from Middle High German, Old High German hurst “thicket”
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for horst


  1. a ridge of land that has been forced upwards between two parallel faults

Word Origin for horst

C20: from German: thicket
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

horst in Science


  1. A usually elongated block of rock that is bounded by parallel geologic faults along its two longest sides and has a higher elevation than the rock at its sides. Horsts form where rock is being compressed by tectonic forces.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.